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The Dam that Divides Ukraine and Russia

Last week, deputies of the Ukrainian parliament passed a resolution on the situation in the Kerch Strait where a dam is being constructed to join the Ukrainian island of Tuzla with the Russian shore of the Taman Peninsula. 250 deputies voted for adoption of the document
The Supreme Rada of Ukraine appealed to the RF State Duma with the demand to immediately involve itself into settlement of the problem surrounding Russia - Ukraine relations.  Otherwise, the statement runs, the Supreme Rada reserves to itself the right "to initiate the measures stipulated by the international legislation with a view to preserve the sovereignty over the Ukrainian territory."

Before adoption of the statement, the deputies listened to a report delivered by the National Security and Defense Council, the Foreign Ministry, the Ecology Ministry and Ukraine's State Frontier Service concerning construction of the Russian dam on the Kerch Strait. In particular, Ukraine Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Motsik said that Russia intended to use construction of the dam to exert influence upon Ukraine during bilateral talks concerning the status of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait. The deputy foreign minister added that Ukraine insisted that the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait must be divided by the border line into inland territorial waters of both countries.

However, the Russian Federation believes the water area of the Sea of Azov must remain for joint use. For the time being, Alexander Motsik says that Ukraine's Foreign Ministry has no reasons to declare that the Russian side has violated any law concerning Ukraine's territorial integrity and inviolability of the state border of Ukraine.

But if common sense does not prevail, Ukraine's foreign ministry "is ready to employ international legislation meant for protection of a country's own territory." Ukraine's foreign ministry plans to issue a special note to determine "the parameters and coordinates of the Russian dam that is being constructed on the strait" (the Supreme Rada statement touches upon unpredictable environmental consequences that construction of the dam may entail).

Head of the Ukraine State Frontier Service Nikolay Litvin declared in his speech that frontier guards would take every possible measure to guarantee the territorial integrity of the country. The Frontier Service has already launched necessary action in the Kerch area; the presence of frontier guards has been strengthened on the island of Tuzla and installed shields with warning inscriptions.

According to recent information, Ukraine's Frontier Service has started exercises on the island of Tuzla with participation of the Navy, aviation and special troops.