08:10 GMT04 December 2020
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    Social media users have jumped at the opportunity to poke fun at a petition which recently appeared on the Ukrainian president's website asking the government to build a canal between Ukraine and Crimea to cut the peninsula off from the mainland.

    The petition, appearing on the president's official website on Tuesday, asks him to approve digging a grand new canal between Crimea and Ukraine, effectively turning the peninsula into an island.

    The petition's author calculates that the creation of the canal would require digging less than five kilometers across between the Azov to the Black Seas along the small sliver of land connecting Crimea to southern Ukraine. Furthermore, he says, the canal's construction would create "tens of thousands of jobs," new opportunities for Ukrainian ports, and would help guard against "possible Russian aggression." The idea "is a win-win scenario from all points of view," the petition asserts.

    So far, the petition hasn't gained much support, and has only 69 signatures of the required 25,000 needed for an official response from the president.

    Nevertheless, hilarity ensued after news of the appeal spread to the internet, with social media users offering a never-ending series of comical jabs about the canal proposal, and the kinks in Ukrainian-Russian relations in general.

    "Ukrainians want to return Crimea so bad that they're ready to dig a canal to separate it from the mainland," one user wrote.

    "If pontoons were then placed under Crimea, it would be possible to tow it to Odessa," another joked.

    "It's just as well; they already have the experience, apparently. They’ve already dug up the Black Sea," another wrote, referring to claims by some Ukrainian historians that the Black Sea was actually an artificial body of water created by Ukrainians' ancient ancestors.

    "Why only Crimea? Why not dig a canal all along the border with Russia! And around Donbass! To get revenge on the cursed Moskals," another sarcastically commented.

    "They've already built a border wall; now they'll dig the Suez canal," another user joked, referring to a scandalous Ukrainian project involving the theft of millions of dollars on the construction of a glorified border fence between Ukraine and Russia.

    "We're building a bridge to join Crimea with the Russian mainland; they're digging a canal to separate it. And they're arguing about who Crimea belongs to? Surely the FSB thought up the idea of this canal," another user quipped.

    As curious as it may seem, this isn't the first time that Ukrainian activists have demanded digging a ditch between Crimea and Ukraine via a petition on the president's website. The last such initiative was proposed last year to try and strengthen the so-called water and food blockade against Crimea.

    Construction of the 19 km bridge connecting Crimea to mainland Russia is proceeding on schedule, with road traffic expected to start later this year. Rail traffic is expected to begin two years later, in 2019.

    Crimea broke off from Ukraine and rejoined Russia in March 2014, following the Maidan coup in Kiev in February of that year. Concerned by the new Ukrainian authorities' anti-Russian attitudes, Crimean officials organized a referendum on the predominantly ethnic-Russian peninsula's status. Amid voter turnout of over 80%, more than 95% of Crimea's residents voted in favor of rejoining Russia, almost 60 years after it was first handed over to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by Nikita Khrushchev in 1954.

    canal, petition, Ukraine, Russia
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