ISHCHENKO: Poroshenko’s Foolish Provocation at Kerch – Going Down the Tie-Eating Path
By Rostislav Ishchenko
Published on: Nov 26, 2018 @ 20:56
Then the “victory” did not happen. But this does not mean that the idea was abandoned. And so, in November, the Ukrainian Navy did go for a real breakthrough.What is the idea behind the Ukrainian provocations?First, Kiev wants to create a new precedent, without obtaining Russian permission for the passage of its warships through the Kerch Strait, which would confirm Ukraine’s existing rights to these waters and at the same time would confirm its claims to Crimea. After all, Ukraine can only have the right to free navigation in the strait if Crimea belongs to it.
Ukraine needs internationalization of the conflict in the Sea of Azov. It loses the standoff that began with the attack of the Ukrainian naval pirates on the Nord. At the same time, contrary to the hopes of Kiev, Russia acts strictly in the framework of international law. That is, in the current reality, neither the US nor the EU has a formal reason to intervene in the conflict.
Don’t all their statements sound like warnings against further escalation? That is why Russia does not need further escalation, but Ukraine needs it. Kiev, which lost the Azov crisis, needs international mediation in order to squeeze concessions from Russia. Shooting, sunk ships, dead sailors – just what is needed to motivate such mediation. The current norms of international law legalize the intervention of any country in order to prevent or stop a military conflict. With a little blood of its sailors, Ukraine wants a winning political stance. People in Kiev have not regretted for a long time.
Thirdly, since Russia will not be the first to use weapons against what in fact Ukraine pathetically calls its Navy, Kiev is trying to accuse Moscow of violating international maritime law.
In fact, the Convention on the Law of the Sea provides for the right of passage of military ships through the territorial waters of another state. This is called the “right of free passage” and for its implementation a simple notification is sufficient. It seems that Ukraine is right. But in fact, the same convention provides for the right of any state to close its territorial waters, any part of it, temporarily or permanently, for “free passage” or impose other restrictions on this regime. This is exactly what Russia did in the Kerch Strait, on the basis of security considerations of both shipping and the Kerch Bridge, which Ukrainian officials and semi-official officials have threatened to destroy several times. By the way, at one time the United States tried to enter the territorial waters of the USSR in the region of Sevastopol, also motivating its actions.
In this situation, last summer’s passage of the Ukrainian ships through the Kerch Strait in compliance with all the rules weakens the position of official Kiev. Ukraine, in fact, itself recognized the right of Russia to impose restrictions on the passage of ships and ships through the Kerch Strait, subjecting to the summer rules. Therefore, hysterics today over the fact that they have again been asked to observe the same rules are unconvincing.
But Kiev, and more specifically Poroshenko, without whose direct order this provocation would not have had a chance to take place, there is no need to substantiate his position. He needs Russia to be the first to use weapons against his navy. Only this gives the opportunity to appeal to the international community, with a request to protect against aggression.
By the way, Poroshenko’s confidence should have been added by Mogherini’s statement , which directly threatened Moscow with sanctions in case of aggravation of the situation in the Azov water area. The situation is painfully reminiscent of August 2008 in South Ossetia. Then Condoleezza Rice also hinted at the support to the Saakashvili regime in case of war with Russia.
By the way, I don’t think Americans lied. Simply, the “wonderful Georgian” could not prove the attack on him by Russia, whose army entered the territory of South Ossetia and began “peace enforcement” a day after the Georgians opened military operations against the Ossetian militia and Russian peacekeepers. Mad-hatter Caucasian guys who went crazy from permissiveness so many times admitted to shelling the residential districts of Tskhinval from the MRL and cannon artillery: and also that it was they who initiated the fighting, with all their desire the West could not pretend that Russia was to blame.
Today, many of the rules and regulations that secretly regulate the relations between the superpowers of the Cold War era are not valid. But at least one thing continues: If your army has been hit and it has suffered losses, then you can even smack the attacker right in the face, no one will interfere. Because if today it is forbidden to respond, then tomorrow, soldiers, ships and aircraft of the United States, France, and Great Britain will be hit by some regular “partisans”. And they also can not do anything.
Therefore, the “civilized world” did not intervene on the side of Georgia, which killed the Russian peacekeepers, into the war 08.08.08. Therefore, Turkey shot down a Russian plane and suddenly found itself in splendid isolation. While she was firing artillery shelling at Syrian troops across the border, the collective West was ready to support her against any response from Russia. But she shot first at Russia, and Moscow received the right to any answer.
Another thing is that instead of being drawn into an expensive senseless war, Russia was able, with the help of economic sanctions and competent diplomatic measures, to make an ally of Turkey, albeit a situational one. But the West made it clear to Ankara that if Russia responds by military means, then NATO will not act on the side of Turkey, because it was she who first attacked, that is, she could not be considered a victim of aggression.
This is precisely the fine line that Ukraine must comply with in its provocations and cannot be crossed. She really wants a small armed conflict in the Sea of Azov or the Black Sea and is ready to sacrifice for this, with any number of her watercrafts, even the entire ‘fleet’. But she can’t shoot first. For then Russia gets the right to respond. And the West is already accustomed to the fact that Russia’s answers are so lightning-fast and unexpected (asymmetrical) that while plans are being prepared and bands are being gathered up with accusations against Moscow of the disproportionate use of force, there is no one to help in time, and it has to deal with a new reality on the ground.
Therefore, Poroshenko, of course, really wants to provoke a limited military conflict with Russia. He needs a conflict both for receiving international support and for strengthening his position inside the country (attempts to mobilize voters around the commander-in-chief of the “opposing aggression” or, if they do not support them anyway, get a reason to cancel the elections). But Poroshenko is limited by the condition of the impossibility of a formal attack of the Ukrainian military on the military or the objects of the Russian Federation. It is one thing, a provocation or even a terrorist attack, responsibility for which official Kiev will not take upon itself, quite another is open armed aggression against Russia.
The danger of these games is that sooner or later, the nerves of someone from the Ukrainian military will eventually snap, and someday they will, and the shots will sound. After that, Volker , Mogherini and the rest of the “friends of Ukraine” will pretend that they just passed by, and Poroshenko won’t even have time to eat his tie.