From this morning’s Der Spiegel: The US State Department has condemned the construction and roadway opening of the bridge between Russia and the Crimean peninsula. The bridge construction was carried out without the approval of the government of Ukraine, it is said in a message. “The Crimea is part of Ukraine.”
The construction of the bridge not only shows that Russia is trying to underpin its illegal capture of the peninsula; it also causes problems for the Ukraine, because it limits the size of the ships, which can pass through the Kerch Straits. [This of course, is baloney, as the depth of the Sea of Azov, shallowest sea in the world, varies from less than a meter to 14 meters. Any ship not able to clear the bridge would run aground. –tr.] “We renew our position of being committed to the sovereignty of Ukraine,” the statement says. Russia had taken the peninsula into its own territory in March 2014 after a controversial referendum. [It is “controversial” of course, only because the West does not like it! –tr.] The West condemns the action as contrary to international law, and Ukraine still regards the region as part of their national territory.
The Foreign Ministry in Kiev also protested against the opening of the bridge. The European Union condemned the construction as a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. “The construction of the bridge aims to further forcibly merge the illegally annexed peninsula with Russia,” said a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
Translator note: No mention of this in the US press, but after reading it in Der Spiegel‘s morning report (Die Lage, The Situation) I went to the State Department site, where I found the actual statement. I have added some emphasis:
The United States condemns Russia’s construction and partial opening of the Kerch Strait Bridge between Russia and occupied Crimea, which was done without the permission of the government of Ukraine. Crimea is part of Ukraine. Russia’s construction of the bridge serves as a reminder of Russia’s ongoing willingness to flout international law.
[I have to interject: Self-determination is right up top in the UN Charter. The West asked the International Court of Justice for its blessing on the independence of Kosovo, and got it, but has never sought any confirmation for the declaration that self-determination is illegal. Back to the statement:]
The bridge represents not only an attempt by Russia to solidify its unlawful seizure and its occupation of Crimea, but also impedes navigation by limiting the size of ships that can transit the Kerch Strait, the only path to reach Ukraine’s territorial waters in the Sea of Azov. We call on Russia not to impede this shipping.
The United States has sanctioned numerous individuals and entities involved in this project. These and our other Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control of the peninsula to Ukraine.
We once again reaffirm our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and recall the international community’s expression of that commitment in UN General Assembly Resolution 68/262.