The Ukraine-Belarus-Poland Waterway

The Ukraine-Belarus-Poland Waterway

May 15, 2020

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The idea to connect the Baltic and Black Seas via the riverways and canals of Ukraine, Belarus and Poland dates back to the 1990s, but a mixture of high cost, political inattention, administrative lockjam, ecological concerns and intra-regional tensions have long kept this project from moving forward. Now, however, modest steps in each of the three neighboring countries has begun to build up momentum to finally completing this north-south transit corridor, which the European Union has dubbed the E40 waterway. If this strategic project can be finalized, it promises to link Belarus and Ukraine more directly to Western European markets; stimulate economic development in regions along this waterway; deepen Poland’s cooperation with its two eastern neighbors; significantly lessen Ukraine’s and Belarus’s dependence on east-west transit links to Russia; and perhaps even permit NATO to use the riverine corridor to move naval vessels into and out of the Black Sea while avoiding the limitations imposed by the Montreux Convention regime over the Turkish Straits.
Below, please find the latest Jamestown analysis of this strategically important development:
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Plans for Waterway From Baltic to Black Sea via Ukraine, Belarus and Poland Advance
During the Middle Ages, the waterways linking the Baltic and the Black seas were a far more important trade corridor than any land routes linking… MORE




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West, Russia Face Off in Belarus Over Baltic–Black Sea Waterway Project
Plans for a new Baltic–Black Sea waterway, passing through Ukraine, Belarus and Poland, have the potential to revolutionize the geopolitics of Europe’s East as well… MORE




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The E40 Waterway: The Polish Dimension
The E40 Waterway is a proposed 2,000-kilometer inland shipping route that, if completed, would connect the Baltic with the Black Sea and run through Poland,… MORE




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The E40 Waterway: Economic and Geopolitical Implications for Ukraine and the Wider Region
On April 24, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted a first reading of the bill “On Inland Water Transport,” finally codifying important planned reforms pertaining to riverine… MORE



Featured Analysts

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. While there, he launched the “Window on Eurasia” series. Prior to joining the faculty there in 2004, he served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He writes frequently on ethnic and religious issues and has edited five volumes on ethnicity and religion in the former Soviet space. Trained at Miami University in Ohio and the University of Chicago, he has been decorated by the governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for his work in promoting Baltic independence and the withdrawal of Russian forces from those formerly occupied lands.

Alla Hurska

Alla Hurska is an associate expert at the International Center for Policy Studies (Kyiv), and a research assistant at the University of Alberta. Hurska’s research at the University of Alberta concerns geo-economic and geopolitical issues in the post-Soviet area, including the Arctic region and geopolitics of gas and oil. She is also interested in the role of Russian propaganda campaigns in influencing public opinion and decision-making in post-Soviet countries. Her articles and expert comments have been solicited by international think tanks, research institutions, and news outlets, including Diplomaatia (Estonia), ICPS (Ukraine), Kyiv Post (Ukraine) and, in Spain, CIDOB, Autonomous University of Barcelona, El Periódico de Catalunya, and El Confidencial.

Alexandra St John Murphy

Alexandra St John Murphy is a Minsk-based analyst on Eastern Europe with a focus on Belarus and the EaP region. She is a visiting fellow with the Minsk Dialogue Council on International Relations and previously worked as a research assistant at the Estonian Centre of Eastern Partnership. Ms. St John Murphy holds a Double MA from the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies and the University of Tartu, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Glasgow.

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Jamestown’s analysts are available for comment and interviews. To contact one of our experts on this or other related topics, please e-mail pubs(at)  or call (202) 483-8888.


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