in the summer two
ships of the Naval Forces of Ukraine passed through the Kerch Strait,
Kiev tried to convince everyone that a “heroic breakthrough” took
place. However, it quickly became clear that the “heroes”,
in full accordance with the Russian demands and rules, gave notice
about their passage in advance, requested permission and a maritime
pilot, and in general behaved exclusively precautionary.
is the idea behind the Ukrainian provocations?
Kiev desires to create a precedent of the free, without obtaining
Russian permission, passage of its warships through the Kerch Strait,
which would confirm the allegedly existing rights of Ukraine for
these waters, and at the same time it would confirm its claims to
Crimea. After all, Ukraine can have the right to freely navigate
through the strait only if Crimea belongs to it.
Kiev means that Russia can counter the passage of its ships. In this
option an armed conflict is desirable for Kiev. In such a case
Ukraine can appeal to the world community and point to “Russian
aggression”, which its ships and sailors became the “innocent
does Kiev need to do this?
needs the internationalisation of the conflict in the Sea of Azov. It
is losing the standoff that began with the attack of the Ukrainian
naval pirates on the “Nord”
seiner. At the same time, contrary to the hopes of the government in
Kiev, Russia works strictly within the framework of international
law. I.e., in actual reality neither the US nor the EU have a formal
reason to intervene in the conflict. That’s why all their
statements sound like a warning against a further escalation. It is
precisely for this reason that a further escalation isn’t needed by
Russia, but it is needed by Ukraine. Kiev, which lost the Azov
crisis, needs international mediation in order to squeeze out
concessions from Russia. Gunfire, sunk ships, and dead sailors are
indeed what’s necessary for the purpose of motivating such
mediation. The current norms of international law legalise the
intervention of any country for the purpose of preventing or stopping
a military conflict. Ukraine wants to receive an advantageous
political position with a little bit of bloodshed among its sailors.
Kiev stopped having compassion for its people long ago.
since Russia won’t be the first to use weapons against what Ukraine
pathetically calls its Naval Forces, Kiev tries to accuse Moscow of
violating international maritime law.
reality, the convention on marine law stipulates the right of passage
for warships through the territorial waters of another state. This is
called “the right of free passage”, and for its implementation a
simple notification is enough. It’s as if Ukraine is right, but in
reality this same convention stipulates the right of any state to
close its territorial waters, any of their zones, temporarily or
constantly, for “free passage” or to introduce other restrictions
of this regime. This is exactly what Russia did in the Kerch Strait,
proceeding from the safety of both navigation and the Kerch Bridge,
which a Ukrainian
official and semi-officials threatened to destroy more than once.
By the way, the US
once tried to enter the territorial waters of the USSR near
also motivating their actions by the “right of free passage”.
Back then this ended with a Soviet patrol boat ramming an American
combat ship. So there already were precedents.
the government in Kiev, and more precisely Poroshenko, without the
direct order of who this provocation wouldn’t have the chance of
taking place, has no need to substantiate his position. He needs
Russia to be the first to use its weapons against his Naval Forces.
Only this gives the chance to appeal to the international community
with a request to protect it from aggression.
the way, Mogherini’s statement, which directly threatened Moscow
with sanctions if the situation in the Azov water area sharpens, was
supposed to give Poroshenko more confidence. The situation is very
much reminiscent of August, 2008 in South Ossetia. Back then
Condoleezza Rice also hinted at supporting the regime
of Saakashvili in
the event of war with Russia. By the way, I don’t think that the
Americans lied. Simply the “wonderful Georgian” couldn’t
prove he had been attacked by Russia, whose army entered the
territory of South Ossetia and started “coercion to peace” the
day after the Georgians started military operations against the
Ossetian militia and Russian peacekeepers. The hot-blooded Caucasian
guys who became euphoric from permissiveness admitted so many
times live on TV that they had shelled the residential quarters of
Tskhinvali from MLRS and barrelled artillery, and they admitted that
it is precisely they who initiated military operations. After this
the West, with all its desire, couldn’t pretend that Russia was
many rules and norms that were secretly governing the relations
between superstates during the era of the Cold war aren’t in effect
today. But at least one of them is still in effect. If your army was
struck and it suffered losses, then you can even grind their attack
into a powder, and nobody will interfere, because if today you are
forbidden to respond, then tomorrow the soldiers, ships, and jets of
the US, France, and Great Britain will fall under the strike of some
“partisans” . And they also won’t be able to do anything.
why the “civilised world” didn’t interfere on the side of
Georgia, which killed Russian peacekeepers during the war of
08.08.08. That’s why Turkey, which downed a Russian plane, suddenly
found itself in proud solitude. While it shelled Syrian troops over
the border, the collective West was ready to support it against any
respond from Russia. But it opened fire on Russia first, and Moscow
acquired the right to give any response. Another thing is that
instead of involving itself in an expensive senseless war, Russia
could, with the help of economic sanctions and competent diplomatic
actions, make Turkey an ally, albeit a situational one. But the West
made it clear to Ankara that if Russia will respond in a military
way, NATO won’t be on the side of Turkey, since it was the first to
attack – i.e., it can’t be considered as a victim of aggression.
this is where the fine line is, which Ukraine needs to observe during
its provocations and shouldn’t cross in any circumstances. It very
much wants a small armed conflict in the Azov or Black Sea and is
ready to sacrifice for the sake of this any amount of its
navigating means, or even its entire fleet. But it can’t be the
first to shoot, because then Russia acquires the right to respond.
And the West is already accustomed to the fact that Russia’s
answers are so lightning and unexpected (asymmetric) that while live
broadcasts are being prepared and columns are being written with
accusations against Moscow of the disproportionate use of force, in
turns out that there is already nobody to save and that there is a
need to deal with the new reality.
why Poroshenko, of course, very much wants to provoke a limited
military conflict with Russia. He needs the conflict both to receive
international support and to strengthen his position inside the
country (attempts to mobilise voters around the commander-in-chief
“repelling aggression”, or if they anyway don’t support him,
then to receive a reason to cancel elections). But Poroshenko is
limited by the condition of the impossibility of a formal attack
carried out by Ukrainian military personnel against the troops or
objects of the Russian Federation. A provocation or even an act of
terrorism is one thing, the responsibility for which the government
in Kiev won’t assume, but an open armed aggression against Russia
is completely something else.
danger of these games is that sooner or later the nerves of someone
from among the Ukrainian military can not only fray, but they will
for sure fray, and then shots will sound. After this Volker,
Mogherini, and other “friends of Ukraine” will pretend that
they were just passing by, and Poroshenko even won’t have time to
eat his tie