Construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait will have to be agreed with Kiev, Crimea’s head Sergei Aksenov said on December 23, the Kommersant newspaper writes. According to him, this is due to "international legal norms, according to which the Sea of Azov is a common shipping area." Obtaining the consent of Kiev "is unlikely to be possible," the official said, adding that construction of an underwater tunnel would be cheaper and would not require an agreement.
Lawyers and experts on maritime law interviewed by the newspaper said it was almost impossible to build the bridge without the consent of Ukraine. One of them said on condition of anonymity that the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties applied to the 2003 agreement. This means that Russia cannot violate the terms of this agreement without terminating it, citing, for example, the provisions of Article 62 of the “Fundamental Change of Circumstances," meaning a change of the status of the Crimea. However, the international community does not recognize the assimilation of the Crimea into Russia.
Kyrylo Dozmarov of Art De Lex believes that Ukraine faced the threat of the strait being closed to its ships in the Azov region because of the plans to construct the bridge.
As reported, the Russian Railways’ head Vladimir Yakunin said in in October that the debate on whether to build "a bridge or a tunnel" was over and that a bridge would be built. This was confirmed by a source close to the Russian Ministry of Transport. "It is difficult to build a tunnel because it is necessary to drill to a depth of 70 meters," he explained.
However, the leadership of the Crimea opposes construction of a bridge: the peninsula’s representative at the Russian Presidential Administration, Georgy Muradov, said in October that construction of a bridge would be "dangerous" because of adverse weather conditions and that "foreign corporations are proposing building a tunnel, which is cheaper." According to him, a tunnel will cost RUB 60-80 billion. The cost of a bridge, according to the latest data, will be RUB 228.3 billion. However, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov explained in December that a decision had been made in in favor of a bridge because of cost and seismic risks.