Since the union of Crimea with Russia in March 2014, the entry into the sea of Azov is fully controlled by Russia. (see image below).
The following article is a revised and update of an earlier GR article by Michel Chossudovsky It provides a brief summary of the Geopolitics of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov as well as observations on the Ukraine War.
An Act of sabotage of the Kerch Strait bridge was perpetrated (October 8, 2022). The Kerch bridge is strategic: it links Crimea (by road and rail) to Russia’s Krasnodar region.
Reports confirm that both road and rail traffic have partially resumed. (BBC)
This article first published on June 5, 2022 provides a geopolitical analysis of the Kerch straight, focussing on strategic waterways.
Historically, the Kerch strait in Eastern Crimea has played a strategic role.
It constitutes a narrow maritime gateway which links the Black Sea via the Sea of Azov to Russia’s major waterways including the Don and the Volga.
It also ensures maritime transit from the Black Sea to Moscow not to mention the strategic maritime route between the Caspian Sea (via the Volga-Don Canal) to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
Map: The United Deep Waterway System of European Russia.
The Volga also links the Caspian Sea to the Baltic Sea as well as to the Northern Sea route, via the Volga–Baltic Waterway. (See above)
The Volga is connected to a system of canals (via lakes Onega, Ladoga) to the Neva River and St Petersburg. (See map below)
What is at stake is an integrated system of waterways which connects the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea to the Baltic and the Northern Sea Route.
In this regard the narrow Kerch Strait in Eastern Crimea is strategic.