Tensions are high across the world right now after Ukraine declared martial law in light of Russia capturing three Ukrainian “Naval” ships crossing through the port city of Kerch from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov:
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley condemned Russia on Monday for its “outrageous violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory,” after Moscow seized three Ukrainian ships and their crews in the Black Sea.
“This is no way for a law-abiding civilized nation to act,” Haley said at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. “Impeding Ukraine’s lawful transit through the Kerch Strait is a violation under international law. It is an arrogant act that the international community must condemn and will never accept.”
Haley told the council that she had spoken with both U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before addressing the council and her statement reflects concerns at the highest level of the U.S. government.
Russia fired on two Ukrainian naval ships and rammed a third vessel Sunday in the Black Sea, seizing the ships and accusing them of illegally entering its territorial waters.
Ukraine’s parliament is considering President Petro Poroshenko’s call to impose martial law in the country, in the wake of the incident. If imposed, it would be the first time since the crisis between Moscow and Kyiv began in 2014 that such measures have been taken.
Poroshenko reduced an earlier version of a bill to propose 30 days of martial law — an apparent concession to opponents — which would allow for elections to be called as scheduled in December.
Poroshenko said Monday he wants to declare martial law “to strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities amid increasing aggression and according to international law a cold act of aggression by the Russian Federation.” He added that Ukraine intends “to keep adhering to all international obligations.”
Poroshenko is demanding Russia immediately release the Ukrainian sailors and ships.c
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Ukraine of violating international norms with “dangerous methods that created threats and risks for the normal movement of ships in the area.”
NATO head Jens Stoltenberg also called on Russia to release the Ukrainian navy ships, saying “there is no justification” for Moscow’s actions, while European Union chief Donald Tusk condemned Russia’s use of force and reiterated the EU would stand in support of Ukraine.
At the U.N. Security Council, most members condemned the escalation, urged restraint, and called for the unconditional and immediate release of the Ukrainian sailors and the return of their ships.
Russia’s deputy envoy Dmitry Polyanskiy blamed Kyiv and its western supporters for the escalation.
“This provocation was pre-planned, that’s obvious, and it was with the full connivance of Western states that de facto have just given carte blanche to any actions taken by their subordinates,” he said.
Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko said his government would like to see a tightening of economic sanctions on Moscow.
“The sanctions is the only real tool that can make Russia at least start thinking of their behavior,” Yelchenko said after the meeting. “Sanctions, they do bite.”
Ukrainian officials say at least six sailors were wounded in the incident. They deny any wrongdoing on Ukraine’s part.
“We think our sailors committed no crime whatsoever,” Ambassador Yelchenko said, noting that Crimea is not recognized as Russian territory by anyone except Russia. “What are they claiming, that Ukrainian sailors committed a crime by crossing the Russian border? Where is this border? It does not exist.”
Russia’s deputy U.N. envoy appeared to signal the Ukrainian sailors would not be released quickly and could face a trial.
“The three sailors, they were acting in provocation and they were conducting a crime according to the laws of the Russian Federation,” Dmitry Polyanskiy told reporters. “Each and every sovereign country has [a] right to prosecute people who conduct crimes and unlawful acts on their territory, that’s our approach.”
Russia, Ukraine claims
Sunday’s incident began when a Ukrainian tugboat set out to escort two navy ships from Odessa, on the Black Sea, through the Kerch Strait to the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, in the Sea of Azov.
The Kerch Strait is the only passage between the two seas.
Ukraine said Russia used a tanker to block access to the Kerch Strait, which under a treaty is shared territory.
Russia said the Ukrainian ships were violating its waters and accuses the Ukrainians of failing to inform it that three of its ships were planning to sail through Kerch, a charge Ukraine denies.
The Trump administration has previously warned Russia against trying to strangle the Ukrainian economy by harassing international shipping through the Kerch Strait.
Russia forcibly annexed Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014, claiming its ethnic Russian majority was under threat from the Ukrainian government.
Fighting between pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine and Ukrainian troops has eased in recent months, but there are still occasional deadly flare-ups.
This is a curious event because Russia normally does not act like this.
Russia is not a country that is “passive” by any means. She has a long history of wars and fighting against Germany, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Iran, Turkey, Japan, and the countless peoples of Central Asia and Siberia. She is the second strongest military on earth and is very capable of defending herself and, if she wanted, to invade another nation.
However, Russia has many problems, the largest of which is she is surrounded on most sides by her historical enemies and given Russia’s internal problems she is faced with the possibility of a collapse or breakup into a series of warring states. Russian policy has been focused around non-violence and peace because it is in her geopolitical interest since she will always have enemies, but her focus is on the number and severity.
The concept of a “Ukrainian navy” is laughable. Since Ukraine is a historical part of Russia since her inception as a nation, Russia’s navy has served as the veritable navy for that nation, but following her “independence” after the 2014 Euromaidan engineered by NATO for the purposes of expanding American and Germanic power, Ukraine has virtually no navy.
This even also comes at a time when Ukraine was preparing to hold elections in four months, and given his approval rating is at 8%, some suspect that he may have done it to bolster support for himself.
The entire situation is curious. While Poroshenko “may” have done this for elections, the elections are still a long ways off, and it does not seem to make sense to do such a drastic action, if this was the case, at the current time. It also is interesting how, while Russia seized the ships, that they did not seek to kill anybody but rather impound said vessels.
Kerch is a major Russian port city, and it serves as the bridge between Crimea and the Russian mainland at Krasnodar Krai. This entire area is not only rich in oil, but it is one of the shortest sea-land gateways for road, railway, and pipelines traveling from the Caucasus region of Russia, the independent nations, and the quasi-autonomous state that sit on the Russian side of what is the Georgia-Azerbaijan border. She is important in that before the Russian seizure of Crimea, she was one of the only potential sea-land oil pipeline routes to Europe that did not require passage through Turkey, because access to the oil sands of Azerbaijan and the entire Turanian basis around the Caspian Sea that is collectively known as “Second Baku” is some of the most oil-rich lands in the world and also a historical target of Germany in both world wars.
Currently what we are witnessing in the Caucasus is a race to secure a comprehensive network of oil pipeline access by Germany/Turkey/USA and a race by Russia to stop said network from forming. This is because just as World War II was decided at the Battle of Stalingrad, which was over control of the Caucasus oil fields, so will a World War III scenario likely also be decided before it begins based on access to said oil fields. NATO wants a comprehensive web that no matter what happens either cannot be shut down or if shut down will provoke world outrage against Russia. This is the reason why in addition to the Caucasus, Turkey is aggressively building railways, roads, and pipelines to connect the oil routes and in so doing transforming her into a major energy hub leveraging her geopolitical location to her absolute advantage.
What exactly was happening at Kerch is not known, but the Russian seizure of the vessels and quick actions means that something serious was taking place. According to a thread on 4Chan, a person commented from an earlier post that Russian media originally reported there was a “nuclear device” on one of the ships that may have been put there by the UK and there was going to be an attempt to explode it at Kerch or another potential location:
The story about blowing up the Kerch bridge is here.
Is this true? One cannot verify any of such reports, but while one cannot confirm it, neither should one ignore it or say that it should not be considered, be it wholly or partially.
It is possible that there was something- maybe even a weapon -on those boats that the Russians seized not because it was going to be used to blow up that bridge, but it was to be used for a future “false flag” attack- something which the USA is known to engage in. One only needs to read about Operation Northwoods in the USA, let alone abroad.
There is something about the story that does not make sense, but that clearly has a serious nature because it is a clear fact that the US is looking to provoke a war in that part of the world and have been going to extensive means to do so.
Most likely nothing will come of this in the immediate time, but it is another provocation that will add to those before and eventually will culminate in an open conflict.