How will the Ukraine war end?

How will the Ukraine war end?

  • Rebels win,Eastern Ukraine goes independent

    Votes: 85 49.7%
  • Putin invades Kiev, NATO doesn't move

    Votes: 47 27.5%
  • Putin invades Kiev, NATO fights Russia

    Votes: 10 5.8%
  • Rebels lose, Ukraine stays united

    Votes: 29 17.0%

  • Total voters
    171
Trucker Putin opens Russia bridge link with annexed Crimea
Putin's driven a truck over the newly built Kerch straight bridge. I wonder what it will be named? He drove the 12 miles of the bridge in an orange Kamaz truck wearing jeans:
“At last, thanks to your talent, this project, this miracle, has happened,” Putin told the workers.
Poroshenko is clearly unhappy:
In Kiev, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said: “The illegal construction of the Kerch bridge is the latest evidence of the Kremlin’s disregard for international law.

“It is particularly cynical that its opening is happening on the eve of the latest anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean-Tatar people by the Stalin regime.”
$3.6Bn cost to build it. It'll be the longest dual-purpose span in Europe. Rail link due to open end of 2019, cars able to use it from tomorrow:
Built at a cost of 223 billion roubles ($3.60 billion), the bridge will be the longest dual-purpose span in Europe. The Kremlin said it would be opened to cars on Wednesday and the rail section was due to be completed at the end of 2019.

“Putin initiated this project himself. Many didn’t believe these plans were possible,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the ceremony.

“This is an extremely important day from this point of view and in a practical sense and in symbolic terms.”
France (Foreign Ministry spokesman) and the EU (European External Action Service spokesman) condemn the opening:
“France condemns the construction by Russia of the Kerch Bridge, which deprives Ukraine of full access and the use of its internationally recognised territorial waters,” a French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

The spokesperson of the European External Action Service said in a statement on Tuesday the bridge was “another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“The European Union continues to condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia and will not recognise this violation of international law,” the spokesperson said.
 
Trucker Putin opens Russia bridge link with annexed Crimea
Putin's driven a truck over the newly built Kerch straight bridge. I wonder what it will be named? He drove the 12 miles of the bridge in an orange Kamaz truck wearing jeans:

Poroshenko is clearly unhappy:

$3.6Bn cost to build it. It'll be the longest dual-purpose span in Europe. Rail link due to open end of 2019, cars able to use it from tomorrow:

France (Foreign Ministry spokesman) and the EU (European External Action Service spokesman) condemn the opening:
That they've built the bridge spanning an international waterway exacerbates a potential flashpoint.

Kerch Strait Now a Flashpoint for Russian and Ukrainian Forces - Jamestown

I can see it as a potential leverage for controlling access to Mariupol and SE Ukraine.
 
Just a short note re. previous attempts to bridge the strait. The Germans built a cableway across the strait and it was used to help evacuate stores from the Taman bridghead in late 1943. A road/rail bridge across the strait was nearing completion at the same time but was destroyed by the retreating Germans. The Soviets then (Summer '44) built a bridge using material left by the Germans. They did not protect the bridge supports and these, and the bridge, were destroyed by ice in the Winter of 44/45.
There's film of the 4km long cableway here, at 14 minutes into the film:
 
Just a short note re. previous attempts to bridge the strait. The Germans built a cableway across the strait and it was used to help evacuate stores from the Taman bridghead in late 1943. A road/rail bridge across the strait was nearing completion at the same time but was destroyed by the retreating Germans. The Soviets then (Summer '44) built a bridge using material left by the Germans. They did not protect the bridge supports and these, and the bridge, were destroyed by ice in the Winter of 44/45.
There's film of the 4km long cableway here, at 14 minutes into the film:
Bridge foundations that can resist ice require fairly large and well protected foundations and so would be time consuming to build. A temporary bridge that wasn't able to resist ice however could be put up much more quickly. Even ferry docks can be damaged by ice unless they are well protected (one was torn out by ice here last winter).

The cableway was an interesting solution.
 
Eyeing possible Polish U.S. base, Belarus says no Russian base, for...
Belarus saying no to Russian bases at the moment. Apparently it depends on what happens with any intended US base in Poland. They want to keep military dialogue and ‘hot lines’ open to control tensions:
Asked if Polish proposals to host a U.S. base amid fears of Russian aggression could prompt Belarus to revise its rejection of any Russian base, Makei said: “I think there will be some reaction to this intention to deploy a new military air base.

“Nothing is impossible ... As of today ... we are not going to deploy new foreign military bases on the territory of Belarus because we would like to contribute to security in our region and we don’t want to be a troublemaker.

“So we are not going to deploy right now new military bases. But looking to the future we should take into account the future steps which will be taken by our neighbors.”

Makei stressed that Belarus, under Alexander Lukashenko who has been president of the former Soviet republic for 24 years, wanted to keep open “military dialogue” in the region, including maintaining “hot lines” to control tensions.
They are willing to provide ‘peacekeeping’ troops for the Russia/Ukraine conflict:
Belarus was still willing to provide peacekeeping forces to help resolve the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, he said, an offer Lukashenko first made four years ago. A company of about 100 troops was ready and Belarus could send more, Makei said, adding there was new interest among the various parties.
Hoping for greater trade with the EU, they’re taking small steps. Currently 51% with Russia and 27% EU. To balance it 1/3 each with Russia, EU and RoW, including in the article increased trade with China:
Where 51 percent of Belarussian trade was currently with Russia and 27 percent with the EU, Makei cited a target of a balance of about a third of trade with Russia, a third with the EU and a third with the rest of the world.

He said that discussions with Europe’s EBRD development bank indicated that two Belarussian banks could be ready for privatization in a few months. Other privatization candidates included cement and building materials firm Krasnoselskstroymaterialy and the Krinitsa brewery.
As ever, Belarus treading a fine line.
 

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