The Crimean bridge with the Z, which has become the Russian war symbol
Sergei Malgavko / ITAR-TASS / IMAGO
A destination over a length of more than 18 kilometers: The Crimean Bridge has become a military object in the Ukraine war. Kiev's troops keep attacking the only connection between the annexed peninsula and mainland Russia. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, one of the war goals is to retake Crimea.
Now there are reports of considerations to create an alternative to the Crimean bridge. The Washington Post, citing Ukrainian security services, reports that businessmen from Russia and China with ties to their countries' leaders are said to be talking about plans to build an underwater tunnel between Russia and Crimea.
The Ukrainian security services are said to have intercepted communications. According to the report, emails indicate that China's largest construction companies have declared their readiness for the project. According to an email from the consortium, the Beijing-based state-owned company CRCC (China Railway Construction Corporation) is said to be "ready" to implement rail and road construction projects of any size in the Crimean region, as reported by the Post.
CRCC's connections to Russia are well known. In 2017, the group won the tender for the expansion of the Moscow metro, and the line was opened in 2021.
There is no confirmation of the reports from the Russian or Chinese side. Vladimir Kalushniy, who is listed in documents as the "general director" of the consortium, described the report to the newspaper as "hot air" before abruptly ending the conversation by pointing out that he "does not give information to hostile media."
A lot of effort – especially in a war zone
As the Post further reports, citing US officials and experts, the construction of such a tunnel would involve a great deal of effort. According to this, it would devour billions and take years. In addition, the implementation of such a project has never been attempted in a war zone.
However, the motivations from the Russian side are obvious: due to continuous Ukrainian attacks, traffic on the Crimean bridge could remain restricted for years.
During an attack in July, the Crimean bridge was severely damaged. Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin then ordered increased security measures for the bridge. In 2018, Putin personally opened the bridge, which consists of two parallel sections – one for road traffic, another for railways.
Among other things, the Crimean bridge is used to transport military equipment for the Russian army fighting in southern Ukraine. This is one of the reasons why it has become the focus of Ukrainian attacks.