Poland opens canal to Baltic bypassing Russia territory

Sep, 19, 2022 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros

Week 202238

Poland on Saturday opened a canal that allows vessels to sail from the Baltic Sea to its Elblag port without passing through Russian territorial waters.

Elblag, in northern Poland, is separated from the Baltic Sea by a thin strip of land called an isthmus. Until now, the only way across was through an opening near the town of Baltiisk into Russia’s Kaliningrad Bay which required authorization from Russian authorities.

“We wanted to open this passage in order to no longer ask for authorization from a country that is not friendly to us,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said at an opening ceremony on Saturday.

EU and NATO member Poland has been an ardent supporter of neighboring Ukraine since Russia invaded the ex-Soviet republic on February 24.

The canal is currently accessible only to small boats. Works are ongoing and are due to end in September 2023, when the canal is due to be large enough to accommodate vessels up to 100 meters long and 20 meters wide, according to Polish authorities.

The cost of the project is estimated at two billion zlotys (420,000 euros), including dredging and other infrastructure interventions that should be completed by September 2023.

Ecologists have criticized it, arguing that the canal will alter salinity levels in Wislany Bay, endangering local fauna and flora.

The government says that this new waterway gives Poland full sovereignty in the northeast region, which needs investment and economic development.

Source: Impala

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