Warsaw: – ‘This is an important matter considering Poland’s position at the international level. There is a need to erase Poland’s identity as a country dependent on other countries. It is time to show the Russians the days they dictated to us are over,’ Jaroslaw Kaczynski, chairman of Poland’s ruling party, thus announced the building of a new canal in the Baltic region. Currently, the vessels at Poland’s Elblag port require to use the waters around the Kaliningrad region.
Poland, known to be largest amongst the Baltic nations of Europe is also Russia’s biggest opponent. The Polish government consistently claims to feel threatened of a Russian attack because of their proximity to the Russian Kaliningrad defence base. The country’s fears have increased after the Russian action in Ukraine, and NATO and the United States have initiated strong preparations to improve its defence-preparedness. Poland has signed an agreement for deployment of the US air defence system, Patriot and a NATO base also has been activated.
Poland’s ruling government has consistently taken an anti-Russia stand and in 2015, built an LNG terminal to end its dependence on Russia for gas. The country has bitterly opposed the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline being laid to supply natural gas through the Baltic sea region from Russia to Germany. Moreover, Poland has also initiated movements for a permanent US military base in the country.
Against this backdrop, the statement from the leader of the ruling party over expediting the Baltic Sea Canal, endorses the anti-Russia stand. The Polish government had moved a proposal for Baltic Sea Canal in 2017. Under this proposal, a canal was to be built in the Vistula Lagoon region for the ships travelling to the Polish port of Elblag. The canal was to be 1,100 yards long and 16 feet deep. Also, the construction is due to begin by the end of this year and the cost outlay is estimated at around $250 million.
Russia, through its letter to the European Union has expressed its opposition to the project. The letter expresses concern over the possibility of project threatening the ecology of the lagoon. Moreover, the Polish government has criticised it as an attempt by Russia to prevent investment in the country. Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s statements make it evident that the Polish resolve of building the canal has only become stronger after Russia’s objection.