Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 51 Share on Twitter 2 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Drama in the Kerch Strait: teasing the Russian bear

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   1 comment
Message Pepe Escobar
Become a Fan
  (190 fans)

From Asia Times

The West is complaining about Russian "aggression" but the incident looks more like a cheap ploy by a desperate Ukrainian president and US conservatives keen to undermine Trump's next pow-wow with Putin

The Crimean bridge. The Crimean Bridge was built to simplify Taman and Kerch Peninsula. It is an automobile and railway bridge.
The Crimean bridge. The Crimean Bridge was built to simplify Taman and Kerch Peninsula. It is an automobile and railway bridge.
(Image by YouTube, Channel: WatchFacts)
  Details   DMCA

When the Ukrainian navy sent a tugboat and two small gunboats on Sunday to force their way through the Kerch Strait into the Sea of Azov, it knew in advance the Russian response would be swift and merciless.

After all, Kiev was entering waters claimed by Russia with military vessels without clarifying their intent.

The intent, though, was clear; to raise the stakes in the militarization of the Sea of Azov.

The Kerch Strait connects the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea. To reach Mariupol, a key city in the Sea of Azov very close to the dangerous dividing line between Ukraine's army and the pro-Russian militias in Donbass, the Ukrainian navy needs to go through the Kerch.

Yet since Russia retook control of Crimea via a 2014 referendum, the waters around Kerch are de facto Russian territorial waters.

Kiev announced this past summer it would build a naval base in the Sea of Azov by the end of 2018. That's an absolute red line for Moscow. Kiev may have to trade access to Mariupol, which, incidentally, also trades closely with the People's Republic of Donetsk. But forget about military access.

And most of all, forget about supplying a Ukrainian military fleet in the port of Berdyansk capable of sabotaging the immensely successful, Russian-built Crimean bridge.

Predictably, Western media has been complaining again about "Russian aggression," a gift that keeps on giving. Or blaming Russia for its over-reaction, overlooking the fact that Ukraine's incursion was with military vessels, not fishing boats. Russian resolve was quite visible, as powerful Ka-52 "Alligator" assault helicopters were promptly on the scene.

Washington and Brussels uncritically bought Kiev's "Russian aggression" hysteria, as well as the UN Security Council, which, instead of focusing on the facts in the Kerch Strait incident, preferring to accuse Moscow once again of annexing Crimea in 2014.

The key point, overlooked by the UNSC, is that the Kerch incident configures Kiev's flagrant violation of articles 7, 19 and 21 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Russian lakes

I happened to be right in the middle of deep research in Istanbul over the geopolitics of the Black Sea when the Kerch incident happened.

For the moment, it's crucial to stress what top Russian analysts have been pointing out in detail. My interlocutors in Istanbul may disagree, but for all practical purposes, the Kerch Strait, the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea, in military terms, are de facto Russian lakes.

At best, the Black Sea as a whole might evolve into a Russia-Turkey condominium, assuming President Erdogan plays his cards right. Everyone else is as relevant, militarily, as a bunch of sardines.

Russia is able to handle anything -- naval or aerial -- intruding in the Kerch Strait, the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea in a matter ranging from seconds to just a few minutes. Every vessel moving in every corner of the Black Sea is tracked 24/7. Moscow knows it. Kiev knows it. NATO knows it. And crucially, the Pentagon knows it.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Well Said 5   Must Read 4   News 4  
Rate It | View Ratings

Pepe Escobar Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

You Want War? Russia is Ready for War

Why Putin is driving Washington nuts

All aboard the New Silk Road(s)

Why Qatar wants to invade Syria

It was Putin's missile?

Where is Prince Bandar?

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend