Russia built Crimean Bridge to close Sea of Azov for Ukraine

Author : Andrei Illarionov

Unlike bridges under construction around the world, the goal of the Kerch bridge, built on the order of Putin, is quite obvious - to hinder the freedom of navigation
21:47, 12 December 2018

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During the discussion at the 6th Forum of Free Russia session, the conversation turned to Russian reparations after the end of the war against Ukraine and the fate of the Kerch Bridge. MP Ilya Ponomarev proposed to consider this bridge as one of the contributions in the framework of the inevitable future Russian reparations to Ukraine. The author of these lines objected, calling the said construction the "Kerch noose", waiting for only one fate – its dismantling.

As is known, the Kerch bridge was built in gross violation of international law, since Ukraine, as the only internationally recognized owner of the Crimean peninsula and one of the two legitimate co-owners of the waters of the Kerch Strait, never agreed to its construction. Nevertheless, in 2014, when the Kremlin announced its intention to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait, Ukraine informed the Russian authorities that ships with a surface height of 44 meters enter the Mariupol port of the Sea of Azov. However, Russia has built a bridge with the height of the main passage arch of 35 meters with a maximum allowable height of vessels passing under it (clearance) 33 meters.

Now 144 ships that traditionally came to Mariupol cannot pass the Kerch Strait. In 2016, approximately 25% of Ukrainian sea exports were carried out through Mariupol and Berdyansk as a whole. In 2017, the port of Mariupol lost 30% of its traditional fleet and 14% of its cargo turnover. In 2018, according to preliminary estimates, the losses amounted to another 45% of cargo turnover for Mariupol and 30% for Berdyansk ports. In the summer of this year there were several periods when the Mariupol port was idle for several days due to delays of ships during their passage of the Kerch Strait and because of their inspection by FSB patrol ships.

The configuration and basic parameters of the Crimean Bridge indisputably indicate that it was built in such a way as to create maximum obstacles to the freedom of navigation in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov.

The automobile part of the Kerch bridge was deliberately placed on low piers, as close as possible to the surface of the water, in order to prevent any small vessels, including little yachts, boats from passing under the minor spans of the bridge.

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The artificiality of downing automobile parts is especially evident against the background of a much higher railway bridge, which profile requires small angles when ascending to the highest point of the bridge and descending from it. In other words, both from a practical and even from an aesthetic point of view, the profile of an automobile bridge could follow the outlines of a railway bridge at a more significant height and thus give relatively small vessels the possibility of passing through minor bridge spans.

However, making the automobile bridge close to sea level, the FSB designers deliberately destroyed this possibility. Now, almost all vessels, regardless of their size, displacement should move only under the main bridge span to make it easy for the security services to monitor them.

The width of the main (in fact - the only one) navigable span of the Kerch bridge is 185 meters. The narrowest main span among the bridges built in recent years is found at the Øresund Bridge (490 meters). That is, two and a half times more than the Kerch Bridge.

And the width of the main spans of all three Bosphorus bridges exceeds one thousand meters.

Virtually all other bridges across the shipping straits built in the world over the past few decades have a kilometer width or more. It is possible that the width of the main shipping bay of the Kerch Bridge was deliberately set so that it could be physically closed without great difficulty by a single tanker, prudently “stuck” on repairs in Kerch from 2017, probably for just such cases as occurred on November 25th.

The height of the main (in fact - the only) navigable span of the Kerch bridge (35 meters) allows ships with a height of no more than 33 meters to pass under it. Over the past eight decades, bridges have been built across the sea straits in the world, are usually twice as high, at least 57 meters, often 64-67 meters, and sometimes even 74-80 meters.

Bridge over Kerch Strait, sunset

Just a few years ago, two bridges (Golden and Russian) with a sufficient width of the main span (737 meters and 1104 meters) and a height corresponding to world standards (64 meters and 70 meters) were built in Russian Vladivostok.

In other words, if the authorities do not set themselves the task of blocking the sea channel for shipping, bridges, even in today's Russia, are built in a form that does not substantially deviate from world standards.

Unlike bridges under construction around the world, the goal of the Kerch noose, built on the order of Putin, is quite obvious - not to ensure freedom of navigation, but to hinder it; stifle the development of the economy of Eastern Ukraine;

The current Kerch noose deserves only one fate – its elimination. If and when Ukraine considers it possible to build a new bridge connecting the Ukrainian Crimea and Kuban in the future free Russia, this new bridge will be completely different - similar to the hundreds of bridges of the modern world, providing unhindered freedom of navigation for all ships.

Read original article at Andrei Illarionov LiveJournal

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