Five metres deep, the 1.3 km canal between the Vistula Lagoon and Gdańsk Bay in the Baltic Sea is expected to be built by digging through the Vistula Spit, which separates the bay from the lagoon on Polish territory.
The aim is to allow deep-draught vessels to enter Poland’s Elbląg seaport without passing through the Strait of Baltiysk in the Kaliningrad exclave, which belongs to Russia, Poland’s Soviet-era overlord.
The niezalezna.pl website reported that Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, said the canal project demonstrates "that the times when the Russians dictated to us what we can and what we cannot do on our territory are over."
Kaczyński added that the canal was a demonstration of Polish sovereignty, niezalezna.pl reported.
Niezalezna.pl said that when asked about accusations by Russia that the Polish canal may be dangerous for environmental reasons, Kaczyński replied: "It is known that they have always been against it".
Kaczyński said: "Now, of course, all kinds of powers are raising the ecology issue."
Nord Stream danger to environment: Polish leader
He added: "Here I would mention here Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2. That is a real breach of environmental security in the Baltic Sea on a huge scale, while here (in the Polish project) there is no threat.”
The 1,200-kilometre Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is scheduled for completion in 2019, is expected to supply around 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, circumventing Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine.
Meanwhile, according to estimates last year, the Polish canal project is expected to cost PLN 880 million (some EUR 210 million, USD 245 million) and be completed by 2022.