The Sea of Azov is a strategic ocean route linked to the Black Sea by the narrow Strait of Kerch
where Russia has built a bridge to link the Crimean Peninsula with the mainland.
Since there was no land connection between Russia and the Crimean peninsula, Putin decided to build an 18-kilometre bridge joining the two sides of the Strait of Kerch
. By a happy coincidence, that would also give him the ability to control or even block shipping trying to get to Ukrainian ports on the northern coast of the Sea of Azov.
Also traders are concerned about the military buildup taking place in Crimea near the Strait of Kerch
, a major transhipment point for Ukrainian and Russian grain shipments to the Middle East, where 5,000 tonne barges cross and 50,000 tonne cargoes load.
Officials said it could take years to clean up the spill in the Strait of Kerch
, Russia, which links the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov.