Russia and China collaborate on underwater tunnel project to link Crimea to Russia

Written by Jeppe W

Nov.24 - 2023 1:40 PM CET


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Russia, in collaboration with China, is reportedly planning to construct an underwater tunnel connecting occupied Ukrainian Crimea to Russia, as revealed by The Washington Post.

This confidential project involves Russian and Chinese businessmen with governmental connections and was initiated due to Russia’s increasing concerns about the security of the Kerch Strait bridge.

In October, a Russian-Chinese consortium was secretly established in Crimea, which involves individuals mentioned in intercepted emails obtained by Ukrainian officials and verified by The Washington Post.

The emails discuss meetings with Chinese delegates in Crimea, highlighting the readiness of the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) to undertake complex railway and road projects in the region.

CRCC, a state-owned enterprise known for its extensive infrastructure projects in China, has not commented on its involvement. Vladimir Kalyuzhny, identified as the consortium's CEO, refused to provide details to "hostile media" and contradicted the project's description in internal emails.

He mentioned a letter from CRCC expressing readiness to participate in constructing the tunnel under the Kerch Strait.

The project, however, demands strict confidentiality, with CRCC’s name to be replaced by an unrelated entity in contracts. Financial aspects involve a Chinese bank willing to convert dollar funds into rubles for project financing.

Experts acknowledge the technical feasibility of the tunnel, comparing it to the massive Denmark-Germany tunnel project. Although unlikely to aid Russia’s immediate military operations, Moscow views this as a long-term investment for a secure connection to disputed Ukrainian territory.

The project's scale and complexity are significant, with potential costs exceeding $8.7 billion and construction spanning several years.