Azov Sea Flashpoint: Russia, Ukraine Teetering on the Brink of War

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Written by Peter Korzun; Originally appeared on strategic-culture.org

Ukraine has increased its military presence in the Azov Sea region. Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council met on Sept. 7 and agreed to take a variety of steps to boost the country’s combat capabilities in the area, including the creation of a missile-equipped naval infantry group to counter potential amphibious attacks and naval shore bombardments. Ukraine’s Gurza-M-class armored artillery boats have been brought in to boost the naval component of the forces deployed in the region.

Russia and Ukraine enjoy free use of the Sea of Azov under the 2003 “Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine on cooperation in the use of the sea of Azov and the strait of Kerch.” The document is in place but it does not specify any precise border. The parties agree that the Sea of Azov and the Strait of Kerch are the internal waters of both Ukraine and Russia.

Azov Sea Flashpoint: Russia, Ukraine Teetering on the Brink of War

Talks have dragged on for a long time but have failed to produce a solution. Ukraine does not want to recognize Russia’s rights, which are based on the fact that Crimea has joined the Russian Federation. Moreover, Ukrainian authorities insist on their right to detain any ship traveling to or from Crimea without Kiev’s permission.

Ukraine is calling for the imposition of international sanctions against Russian Black Sea ports, due to what it calls the “blockade” of the Sea of Azov. It has already imposed punitive measures unilaterally. Tensions have heightened since March, when ships were detained and searched.  On March 24, Ukrainian border guards stopped the Russian-flagged, Crimean-registered Nord fishing vessel in the Sea of Azov. The ship was hijacked. The crew members reported being interrogated and abused by Ukrainian authorities who held them accountable under domestic laws, not recognizing the crew as Russian citizens. The detained sailors were finally set free to return to Crimea without passports. Ukraine violated a number of international agreements and this marked the beginning of a campaign of provocative actions that has been waged ever since. Last month, the Russian Mekhanik Pogodin tanker was detained in the Ukrainian port of Kherson. Russia compared the move to the activities of Somali pirates.

The US is taking sides in order to ratchet up the tensions.  The State Department has taken a deliberately provocative stance, urging Ukraine toward confrontation. Without bothering to study the details, it simply puts the blame on Russia as usual for anything that goes wrong. Washington is goading Ukraine into seeking a military solution, including such unrealistic but dangerous ideas as using the warships of NATO’s standing force to protect its shipping lanes, mining the Azov Sea, or  using fast-moving attack vessels to encircle a large Russian naval asset from all directions like a wolf pack. This tactic was invented by German Admiral Karl Dönitz during WWII, when “wolf packs” of U-boats were used to attack capital ships.  The very fact that such ideas have been generated and are floating around shows how unwise it is to abet Ukraine by throwing unconditional support behind it.

Stephen Blank of the American Foreign Policy Council, a leading US expert on Russia, believes that the US administration “should send anti-ship missiles available from or through the US-AGM-84 Harpoon Block II, AGM-158C LRASM A, and the Norwegian Naval Strike Missile” as well as “a viable launch platform and a targeting system, particularly a radar.” The author thinks this should be done right now, without delay. His article was published on Sept. 7 by the Atlantic Council, the prestigious think tank that advises the State Department and enjoys great influence among those who shape US foreign policy.  In another article, Mr. Blanc calls for supplying Ukraine with platforms — older ships that have been decommissioned or are about to retire.  Last month, Mykola Bielieskov, the Deputy Executive Director at the Institute of World Policy, called for fast-track shipments to Ukraine of the Harpoon Block II ER+ anti-ship missile, enabling it to attack Russian vessels. The idea of providing Ukraine with Island-class coast guard ships is under consideration by the US government. On Sept. 1, Kurt Volker, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, stated that the US administration “is ready to expand arms supplies to Ukraine in order to build up the country’s naval and air defense forces.”

The powers that be have failed to keep their promises and improve the lives of ordinary people in Ukraine. The presidential election will be held in March 2019. A threatening Russian bogeyman is needed to explain away the failures. The country’s economy and finances are in the doldrums and corruption is staggering.   None of the problems have been solved and the West is getting tired of Ukraine. The fairy tale about Moscow’s “aggressive foreign policy” comes in handy right when the Ukrainian rulers need a scapegoat.

Nobody needs an armed conflict in the Azov Sea region. A number of countries are interested in protecting the right of free passage, enabling vessels to arrive at their destination ports  without risk or delay. The region does not have to be a flashpoint. Russia and Ukraine could sit down at a round table to discuss controversial issues, as the 2003 agreement stipulates the parties should do in order to settle their disputes, should they have any, but that’s not what the State Department is calling for. The only option the US administration is considering is that of providing Ukraine with arms to fight Russia and then egging Kiev on to escalate the tensions. And those are already dangerously running high. A spark can ignite a big fire at any time if the problem is not addressed in a positive way without saber rattling. It’s a pity the US is playing such a destructive role. The time is right for Russian and Ukrainian experts and officials to set their differences aside and start talking to find a peaceful solution to this urgent problem.

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  • FleshGoredon

    To deliver those missile systems to the Ukraine is one thing. It’ll lead to more unpaid debts and little more. As long as they are not fired against Russia, because this would lead to a conflict the Ukraine can not win with a missile battery and a coastguard ship.

    As long as they’re not in the NATO it will be hard to justify the loss of American or European soldiers for their protection. At best, the US would pump loads of weapons and ‘advisors’ into the country, which I highly doubt would even slow down the Russian army.

    So would the US run the Ukraine into the ground only to get new reasons to sanction Russia a little more? Or is there another motive, that I don’t see?

  • TiredOfBsToo

    I’m sure that any attack on Russian vessels in the Azov sea using whatever weapons the psychopathic US government sends to Ukrainian criminals, will just put the final nail in the Ukrainian coffin. It’s too bad that the Ukrainian government is filled with so many dim bulbs of all stripes that are unable to analyze what’s obvious to all, that they’re being used as cannon fodder only for the benefit of the West. Since the propaganda and censorship in the Ukraine is even higher than in the US, I expect Ukrainians will live and die as cannon fodder never really having had an opportunity towards a decent peaceful life.

    Ukraine should be a lesson to the people of any country that is on the psychopathic US government’s hit list. Before protesting against your government and it’s policies, check to see if the US has designs on your country. Remember that the psychopaths will always hijack the protests against your government to destroy your country, and make your situation worse. Remember also what Ukrainians thought they were going to get by dumping their President in favor of foreigners and their promises. So to continue to have a somewhat normal life, remember the Ukrainian lesson and above all avoid those cookies, cash and McCain like visits, unless you want to suffer the Ukrainian peoples’ fate.

    • Marko

      Excellent advice.

      • TiredOfBsToo

        Thanks

        • occupybacon

          If Russia continues the blockade of Mariupol, that bridge needs to get shut down, or new sanctions are needed, like SWIFT banned for Russia. Rubble needs to be halved like in 2014. Crimea needs to pay for premium water and electricity. And North Stream needs canceled, but just before the inauguration so Russians should know that if gov changes, it will work, or should shove their advises in their huge arse

          • ruca

            What blockade of Mariupol? Are ”ukes taking captagon now too?

          • occupybacon
          • ruca

            Bullshit

          • Dicksonrp

            You Sir …should wash your hands after cleaning your rectum …before putting it in your jewish mouth…..it affects your little deformed brain.

          • occupybacon

            Your username reflects what you want

          • zman

            The reaction to illegal hijacking of Russian flagged ships by Ukraine. They start shit, then cry like babies when they get hit back. Typical Zionist ploy. Ukraine started it with the detaining of the Nord, claiming they were illegally entering and leaving Crimea(as they claimed all traffic there was). They continued to harass Russian ships even after being warned. Russia got tired of their crap and showed them what real antagonism was. Russia does not blockade them, they merely stop, inspect and question them. Do a search on ‘Russia blockades Azov and look at the articles that come up. All copies of each other, all western think tank crap(who actually encourage Ukraine to attack Crimea) and propaganda and more lies. Look past all the BS articles and you will find that there have been many freighters coming and going carrying Ukrainian grain…but you won’t see that reported by ‘western’ hit pieces. Russia continues to ‘inspect’ all ships coming and going. You never know when a ship might come through carrying ‘cookies’. If you can’t take the response, don’t start shit.

          • AM Hants

            LOL, with regards SWIFT. Russia and China have their own system, with the EU hoping to come up with their own version. Wonder if the people of Ukraine would still go for the ‘cookies’, Nuland and McCain enticed them with, or would they go for the $15 billion RF Loan, plus cheap gas, if they could go back in time.

            Loving the Russia – China – Mongolia exercises, over in Vostok. 300,000 Forces, 36,000 land vehicles, including tanks, 1000 military jets, plus 80 ships/submarines. Wow, not forgetting the Russian exercises, running the same time in the Med, plus, how they can still defend their borders. Can Ukraine, the non-Nato state, with unauthorised Nato squatter, match the Russian exercises?

          • occupybacon

            Your comment “LOL blabla….Loving Blablabla……Wow blablabla” sounds like a teleshopping ad.

          • AM Hants

            So are you saying Russia does not have ‘MIR’? China does not have ‘CIP’? The EU do not wish to come up with their own system?

            ‘Mir is a payment system established by the Central Bank of Russia. It is currently accepted mostly by Russia-based companies, such as Aeroflot or Russian Railways, though it is gradually gaining acceptance among foreign companies with Russian operations..’

            ‘…China’s SWIFT Alternative and the (Engineered) Death of the Dollar…’ https://www.corbettreport.com/chinas-swift-alternative-and-the-engineered-death-of-the-dollar/

            So, are you saying Nuland and McCain never turned up in Ukraine with a basket of cookies, plus, the Soros Regime Change Script?

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f2d4b660d44c070619f683249340cefa057b64bd20587d4b1949d29541a8f8fc.jpg

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4101e974488c56edc7d2db759e693cbab1a166a8d4a189e012f22869126025d0.jpg

            Nuland: Fuck the EU… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5n8UbJ8jsk

            So are you saying Russia are not holding a military exercise in Vostok?

            Putin personally inspects his military’s huge war games exercise alongside Chinese troops and pledges to beef up Russia’s army with the latest generation of weapons
            President Putin attended third day of Vostok 2018 joint military exercises in far eastern Siberia on Thursday
            Russian leader watched as 300,000 troops, 36,000 tanks and 1,000 aircraft went on manoeuvres
            He pledged to strengthen country’s military though added that Russia is a predominantly ‘peaceful’ nation
            Exercises are the largest to take place since the fall of the Soviet Union and are taking place alongside China … https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6163089/Putin-personally-inspects-Vostok-2018-military-games-eastern-Russia.html#comments

          • zman

            No, he’s plainly saying he’s an idiot…babbling non-sensical western bullshit only a complete fool would believe. In other words, he’s a Zionist flunky.

          • occupybacon

            Why do you keep bringing up the military exercise?

          • gustavo

            To sell weapons to the good and bad guys……just business.

          • Dicksonrp

            Because Sir ……it is causing you to have a severe purge ….and you know how terrible jewish filth smells…

          • Dicksonrp

            You are a stupid jewish jackass Sir

          • zman

            Crimea has their own electricity from Russia, Ukraine is in the crapper, where they belong…going down the drain, like the US. Would love to see the idiots try to shut off the bridge. Russia and the other sane countries are about ready to abandon ‘swift’, due to illegal US ‘sanctions’. Good, then the Zionist A-holes will have even less leverage. Those cookies must have had captagon in them, Ukrainian brain cells dying by the billions.

          • occupybacon

            You really want that captagon, don’t you?

          • Dicksonrp

            You Sir ….are full of the jewish crap…

          • TiredOfBsToo

            hohummmmm

          • Dicksonrp

            Tell me sir are you one ass……..or two assholes….or three lumps of jewish filth???

          • occupybacon

            The saying is “you are so full of shit that you need 2 assholes…” And yes, we’re Trump and Bibi on the same account.

    • Mo Richard

      You nailed it spot on.

  • Mountains

    I have said this before that Putin was completely out-foxed and out-thought by Poroshenko and his the ultimate Putin-bogeyman. They should just call him Putin’s daddy. Ever since that man was elected into the office in Ukraine he mobilized the army and might donbass a defensive fortress that says thou shall not pass and make no mistakes that war is active and fire is exchanged on daily basis and it seems like putin wants to back off from Donbass and seem to have abandoned his supporters there with little help. They are inside the trenches they dug 4 years ago.

    If Putin pushes Poroshenko in the wrong way then I believe he has greater plans for him in place. Poroshenko could perhaps be remembered one day as the man who brought down the remnants of soviet russia which means the fall of Russia period. Poroshenko is just way smarter then Putin in all way of shapes

    • Tudor Miron

      Someone… call the ambulance. This Mountains creature needs urgent medical assistance.

      • Mountains

        You are the one in urgent need of medical asistance. Get the fock out of here you filithy casual

        • occupybacon

          Good point. Teach the minion!

        • Dicksonrp

          Mountain and bacon…two jewish fags…trying to screw each other…without recognizing that their one inch wieners were born dead because of years of jewish inbreeding!

      • zman

        Dead brain cells cannot be re-resurrected. On the other hand, I hear the Chinese are doing head transplants now, maybe they can get on the list and get an upgrade to a moron.

    • AM Hants

      LOL, so love sarcasm. Poroshenko, May 2014, ‘we will have Donbass sorted in a couple of weeks’.

      How many Ukrainians, plus, Nato forces/mercenaries perished in the cauldrons of Eastern Ukraine, plus, Donetsk airport, just 3 months later?

    • Dicksonrp

      You said that without taking a breath after sticking your head so far up your jewish rectum!! Congrats!!

  • Dick Von Dast’Ard

    So essentially Ukraine has seceded its own sovereignty to Washington. (a country that only has highly malevolent intent towards the future well-being of Ukraine)
    How far is that going to get them as a country being? (quite possibly leading to their own catastrophic destruction)

  • AM Hants

    Surprised Ukraine are not on the take, or are they?

    Greece: “Humanitarian Aid” Organization’s People-Smuggling
    Greek NGO evidently received 2,000 euros from each illegal immigrant it helped to enter Greece… https://theduran.com/greece-humanitarian-aid-organizations-people-smuggling/

  • AM Hants

    Breaking:

    Serial numbers of missile that downed MH17 tells it was produced in 1986, owned by Ukraine – Russia
    https://www.rt.com/news/438596-mh17-downing-russian-briefing/

    • TiredOfBsToo

      Was there ever any real doubt… :)