Russia will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait to link occupied Crimea with the Russian Federation, according to a Ukrainian scholar. But its likely inability to do so means that Moscow may have even more reason to press ahead with its aggression elsewhere to secure a land route to the peninsula.
In an interview on BTB, Serhiy Hromenko, a researcher at the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, says that Moscow will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait or get the Chinese to do it for them as some have speculated.
The “unpleasant” truth is that only the Germans were able to build such a bridge in the course of their invasion of the USSR, but the 4.5 kilometer German bridge was destroyed by ice flows immediately after the war. And since that time, “no one, not even the Soviet Union with all its power, was able to build such a bridge.”
“And if the Soviet Union wasn’t able to do this,” Hromenko says, he “strongly doubts that the Russian Federation will be able to so” despite Moscow’s claims that it will be able to do so and before 2018.
Moreover, he continues, “all the talk that some Chinese company or other will come and build it is absolutely without foundation because [such firms] fear of falling under American sanctions.” Nor is there any reason to believe in the capacity of some African companies to fill this gap.
Without a bridge, Moscow will be able to send goods into occupied Crimea by ferry, something that will make prices there higher and lead to a further degradation of the situation on the peninsula. And that in turn will make the integration of Crimea into the Russian Federation even more difficult, Hromenko says.
The Ukrainian scholar does not mention what may be a far more important consequence of Russia’s likely inability to build such a bridge: an even greater reason for Moscow to try to secure a land bridge to Crimea by seizing one way or another Ukrainian territories to the north of Crimea.