Atlantic Council fellow says US should send ships to Azov Sea (illegally) after Kerch standoff
26 November, 2018
A senior fellow at the pro-NATO Atlantic Council has said the US should send naval ships into the Sea of Azov to guarantee it stays open after a skirmish between Russian and Ukrainian ships. Only problem is, that would be illegal.
Aslund’s suggestion came after Russia opened fire on and seized three Ukrainian navy boats on Sunday, accusing them of breaching the Russian maritime border.
Trofimov cited the 2003 treaty between Russia and Ukraine which declared the Azov Sea to be “internal waters” and which only guarantees freedom of navigation for Russian and Ukrainian military vessels.
He also claimed that a quiet response to the incident from US officials meant that President Donald Trump must have“strictly ordered” US officials not to speak about it.
The Atlantic Council fellow also found himself in a heated spat with multiple Moscow-based journalists and correspondents last week after he scolded a Washington Post reporter for daring to write an article suggesting that some Ukrainians harbored positive feelings toward Vladimir Lenin.
Journalists from the Washington Post, Financial Times and the Guardian were unimpressed that Aslund appeared to be implying that Moscow-based journalists are unable to write authoritatively about Ukraine and that they should refrain from criticizing the country, lest it offend him or his group of friends.
Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev also waded into the debate to remind Aslund that debate around post-Soviet identity in Ukraine is alive and well, regardless of how he personally feels.
Since the Kerch Strait incident, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has imposed martial law in the country — a move which could allow him to call off scheduled elections and remain in power. Moscow has accused Kiev of provoking the entire incident to win sympathies in the West and to help Poroshenko remain in office.