Kerch Strait

Kerch Strait, shallow channel, c.25 mi (40 km) long, connecting the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea and separating Crimea in the west from Russia's Taman Peninsula in the east. Its northern end, opening into the Sea of Azov, is narrowed to a width of from 2 to 3 mi (3.2–4.8 km) by the narrow Chuska landspit; the southern end, opening into the Black Sea, is c.9 mi (14 km) wide. Its arm, the Taman Gulf, penetrates east into the Taman Peninsula. The city of Kerch lies near the middle of the strait, on the Crimean side. In 2003, Russia's building of a sea dike from the S Taman Peninsula toward Ukraine's Tuzla island in the strait provoked a crisis; construction was stopped, and a subsequent accord allowed for joint use of the strait and called for the delimiting of the Russian-Ukrainian border. The island's status as a part of Ukraine, however, was disputed in 2005 by Russian officials. Tuzla and the Kerch Strait passed to Russian control in 2014 after the occupation and annexation of Crimea. A 10.5-mi (16.9-km) road bridge and an 11.9-mi (19-km) rail bridge across the strait now connect Crimea with Russia. The strait was the Cimmerian Bosporus of the ancients; it is also known by its Tatar name, Yenikale.

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