Losing Crimea

The embargo on the peninsula occupied by the Russians is a short-sighted strategy. The cutting of electricity and the detention of goods have a dual negative effect from the point of view of Kiev. Increase feelings antiucraini and accelerate the process of integrating the Russian.

Photo: EPA/Vostok
Photo: EPA/Vostok

Last week, anonymous saboteurs blown up two pylons that feed the power grid of the Crimea from continental Ukraine. The action - there is no need for any claim - is certainly the work of the extreme nationalists. Who are rightly enraged for the violent annexation of the peninsula. Probably the same groups that are blockading the roads leading to Crimea, two months so far, amidst government inertia.

A proof that again extremist groups are out of government control, and eventually influence its policies. So much so that there is the legitimate suspicion that someone in Kiev is taking advantage of the actions of a bunch of men in balaclavas and camouflage.

So far, the Ukrenergo - the Ukrainian power company - has not repaired the damaged lines and the inhabitants of Crimea are still in the dark. And once again, the people and not the politicians are paying the higher price.

Networks

Crimea in a way has always been, and has never ceased to be, Ukrainian. The entire vital system is tied to Kiev. The electricity grid depends for the 90% from the production of the plants in Zaporizhzhia and Kakhovka, where the damaged lines come from. The gas comes exclusively from the southern branch of the Sreblinka-Izmail segment of the Soyuz pipeline. The water flows through the North Crimean Canal from the Kakhovka reserve. Not to mention the roadways. After all, Crimea is a peninsula attached to Ukraine, not Russia.

Moscow, however, is working hard against geography.

The biggest project is certainly the bridge over the Strait of Kerch. A work that, when it is completed, in fact physically will join Crimea to Russia. A project worth $ 3 billion to link the two shores across 4 kilometers of sea that separates it from separate (new) homeland. A huge expense, but also a very strong signal to the entire world. The bridge is being built by the SGM Group of billionaire Arkady Rotenberg, a close friend of Putin. The project was approved in June, and construction already started last summer with the creation of a side bridge. The bridge itself is a system of 19 km that will start from the Taman Peninsula, will lay on an already existing strip of land and on the sandy islet of Tuzla and will land on the southern outskirts of Kerch. It will have a span of 35 meters to allow the passage of ships and will host a four-lanes motorway and two rail lines. It should be open by 2019 and I bet it will.

Crimea bye bye

There is not only the bridge. After Ukraine reduced the volume of water pumped in the North Crimean Canal, Russian military engineers has laid a water network of 24 pipelines that from artesian wells feed the canal. The new Crimea-Kuban gas pipeline, a project worth $ 368 million, will connect the Crimean gas network to Russia through the bottom of the Kerch Strait by 2018. While a submarine power cable, 800-megawatt and $ 800 million, will make Crimea power supply self-dependent.

The policy of blockade and sabotage will surely not help Crimea return to Ukraine. All way round. Besides feeding the resentment of Crimeans, who feel targeted by Kiev, it is boosting Russian efforts to complete the annexation also in terms of infrastructure. And, ultimately, it seems to suggest the idea that Ukraine already no longer considers that land and its people as its own and has abandoned them to their fate. What else could mean to leave a region and its people in the dark and without water?

@daniloeliatweet

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