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Thread: Ukraine to sue Russia over Bridge

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    Ukraine to sue Russia over Bridge

    Ukraine is preparing a lawsuit against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bridge to Crimea, fearing that it will close off the waters of three other Ukrainian regions, Kiev-based news agency UNIAN reported Wednesday.

    The bridge is mired in controversies already, without even having opened. It will be the first land link between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula, a region Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 but that is still recognized as Ukrainian by U.N. General Assembly majority.

    The 12-mile construction is the project of Arkady Rotenberg's company. The Russian businessman is one of Putin’s closest associates and is under Western sanctions introduced because of the Crimea annexation. The bridge will cost Russia around $5 billion, Radio Free Europe estimated.

    As well as being a link to an annexation considered illegal, Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure fears the bridge, stretching across the narrow Kerch Strait, will also have another effect—it will close the strait. The narrow waters of the strait link the large Black Sea with the Sea of Azov, which is shared by Russia and Ukraine.

    Besides Crimea, three more Ukrainian regions sit on the Azov coastline, sea access to which will be obstructed by the bridge.

    Ukraine’s Justice Ministry is in the process of drafting other legal action against Russia—namely linked to issues with the annexation and supporting violent insurgencies in eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions. According to Deputy Infrastructure Minister Yuri Lavrenyuk, the bridge, planned to open for car traffic next year, will be the specific focus of a suit.

    “At the moment, a summons is being prepared, and the financial losses from unreceived cargo for the Mariupol and Berdyansk commercial ports are being calculated,” Lavrenyuk says.

    “This is a global, political and complex issue, but we will absolutely resolve it,” he adds.

    By December 2018, Russia hopes the road section of the bridge will be fully operational, with a rail link opening soon after.

    The bridge has faced some backlash in Russia and Ukraine, where experts have queried the safety of the construction, some pointing to the collapse of the only previous attempt to link Russia with Crimea by bridge. This has not deterred current construction, however, as the failed project took place in 1944 and was much less expensive.
    Ukraine Ready to Fight Russia in Court Over First Land Link to Annexed Crimea

    The previous attempt, in the 40s, was a temporary bridge made out of wood. It got broken apart by ice in winter. The modern bridge is much more powerful concrete and steel structure designed, supposedly, to withstand all the natural factors in the Kerch Straight, including seismic activity. It's being built way ahead of schedule, supposedly already 75% complete: Russia’s Crimea Bridge “75% complete”

    Rotenberg REALLY wants to impress Putin...

    Also, the total height of the bridge would be 35 meters. I would imagine majority of ships would be able to clear under it.

    However...

    This does give Russia more total control of the Straight. As it is, all the waters of Crimea are under the tight hold of the FSB's Coast Guard, they are constantly strengthening themselves, brining new warships every couple months over there


    Coast Guard patrol boats are everywhere


    The Bridge itself, and its surrounding waters, are under the protection of the Navy special forces


    That's in response to potential threats of sabotage and terrorism from Ukrainian radicals, which have been issued, though most believe it's just a bluff.

    The Navy's Black Sea Fleet in Crimea has powerful vessels like the missile cruiser "Moskva"

    and other warships



    and is being further strenghened with new Admiral Gorshkov-class frigates (three of them now) which carry Kalibr cruise missiles, Russian answer to the Tomahawks

    new Varshavyanka class submarines (improved version of Kilo-class, which also carries Kalibrs)


    Ukraine, meanwhile, has just one frigate, "Hetman Sahaydanchniy", their flagship, now based in Odessa and even it is not exactly in amazing shape: Ukrainian Navy's Flagship Frigate Breaks Down Immediately After Costly Repairs

    The rest of their sad excuse for a Navy is made up of small patrol boats and cutters, around a dozen and half, all in all. They lost all their best warships with the Crimea... Today, the Coast Guard in Crimea outguns the Ukrainian Navy, let alone the Black Sea Fleet...

    Point is, as the US reportedly considers sending defensive weapons to Ukraine against the Russian-backed rebels in Donbass (US considering arms to Ukraine, says envoy Volker - BBC News), I am hearing already some politicians in Russia call for the closing of the Kerch Straight and a Naval blockade of Odessa, in retaliation for such a move. A total blockade of Ukraine, in other words.

    They could pull that off. Ukraine, again, has nothing to confront them with, on the sea, today...

    Would Western countries send their own Navies to stand off with the Russians and try to force down their blockade, if this happened?
    Last edited by The Man; 2nd August 2017 at 12:45 PM.

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