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Kerch Strait

Kerch Strait, shallow channel, c.25 mi (40 km) long, between Ukraine and Russia, connecting the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea and separating the Crimea in the west from the 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 Ukraine. 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. Kerch Strait was the Cimmerian Bosporus of the ancients; it is also known by its Tatar name, Yenikale.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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