Foreign Ministry: Russia's bridge to Crimea violates int'l law
Poland's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that the construction by Russia of a bridge to Crimea, without the consent of Ukraine and against the position of the UN General Assembly, represents another clear violation of international law.
The bridge, connecting the Krasnodar region in mainland Russia with the Crimean Peninsula (annexed from Ukraine in 2014), was officially opened by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
Measuring 19 kilometres in length and built at a cost of USD 3.6 billion, the structure is designed to reduce the Black Sea peninsula's isolation from Russia.
Responding to this development in an official statement, the Polish Foreign Ministry said that the construction of the bridge, "without the consent of Ukraine and against the position of the United Nations General Assembly, represents another clear violation of the principles of international law."
The Ministry added that initiatives such as the construction of the bridge contradict Moscow's repeated assurances that it is "seeking a peaceful resolution of its conflict" with Kiev, and make such a resolution "ever more difficult to achieve."
As the statement noted, already in 2014 the international community declared the "independence referendum" in Crimea - which opened the way to its annexation by Russia - illegal, thus supporting Ukraine's sovereignty and independence in its recognised borders.
"We call on the Russian side to refrain from making any further violations of Ukraine's territorial integrity and independence," the Foreign Ministry wrote.
The construction of the bridge without the consent of Kiev was condemned by the European Union, among other entities. The structure makes it impossible for some types of ships to enter the Sea of Azov, through which steel used to be exported from Ukraine.