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Poland to launch new shipping canal on anniversary of WWII Soviet invasion: officials

05.04.2022 18:30
Poland will open a new waterway to the Baltic Sea on September 17 to mark 83 years since the Soviet Union invaded the country in the early days of World War II, officials said on Tuesday.
Construction work taking place on Polands new waterway through the Vistula Spit to the Baltic Sea, in October 2021.
Construction work taking place on Poland's new waterway through the Vistula Spit to the Baltic Sea, in October 2021.PAP/Adam Warżawa

The announcement was made by Deputy Infrastructure Minister Marek Gróbarczyk, the state PAP news agency reported.

“On September 17, the canal will be launched and the first vessels will pass through it,” Gróbarczyk told a news conference.

He called the new waterway “a historic and groundbreaking project.”

Running through the Vistula Spit, the new canal is designed to allow ships to enter the Polish port of Elbląg without passing through the Strait of Baltiysk in Russia's Kaliningrad region, according to officials. 

‘A boost to Poland’s military and economic sovereignty’

Linking Elbląg with the Bay of Gdańsk on the Baltic Sea, the 23-kilometre-long, 5-metre-deep waterway will “help enhance Poland’s military as well as economic sovereignty,” the country’s conservative leader Jarosław Kaczyński has said.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda has stated that the canal will "strengthen Poland's sovereignty."

Meanwhile, the project is being viewed as a threat by Russia, according to the US think tank the Jamestown Foundation.   

In the Kremlin’s view, the sole aim of the new Polish waterway is “to give North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) warships access to Kaliningrad Bay (Vistula Lagoon), without having to first pass close by the Russian military facilities at Baltiysk,” the think tank said in a 2020 analysis.

The announcement of the canal’s launch came as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continued for the sixth week.

Symbolic date

On September 17, 1939, Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union invaded Poland following a secret agreement with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

Poland was then caught between German Nazi forces advancing from the west and Soviet forces from the east during the first stage of World War II in Europe


Source: PAPtvp.info