Political Analysis: Consequences Of Black Sea Incident For Poroshenko Government

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Political Analysis: Consequences Of Black Sea Incident For Poroshenko Government

Written by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

The sharp but almost bloodless clash between Ukrainian naval forces consisting of two armored gunboats and a tug, and Russian maritime border guards has naturally acquired significance well in excess of the actual magnitude of the incident. It is proving to be a “reality check” showing  the current priorities of each of the interested actors.

Ukraine

Given that the Ukrainian vessels did their utmost, short of opening fire, to provoke a Russian response by blocking the Crimea Bridge waterway with their erratic maneuvering, they were in all likelihood operating on orders emanating from the very top. Poroshenko’s alacrity at seizing the moment and issuing a decree on the martial law in Ukraine also indicates the events did not exactly take him by surprise.  Given that presidential elections are currently scheduled for March 2019 and Poroshenko’s popularity is in single digits, postponing the elections indefinitely would naturally be the best  outcome from his perspective.

That perspective does not appear to be shared by the rest of Ukraine’s oligarchy, for the Rada approved only a very short, one-month, martial law, and limited only to those parts of Ukraine with a high proportion of Russian speakers with a pro-Russia outlook, such as the Odessa region. This will allow to practically exclude these provinces from the participation in the elections, thus undermining the Opposition Block without promising to put Poroshenko over the top. The martial law may also be used to expropriate oligarchs with assets in the affected regions, which is only to be expected under the conditions of ever-sharper competition over Ukraine’s shrinking economic pie.

Since the Rada martial law does not give Poroshenko what he wanted, it creates an incentive to attempt a larger-scale provocation, including a full-scale military assault against the Donbass that would have the intended effect on the Rada and, more importantly, on Poroshenko’s “foreign partners”. The problem with that scenario is that the Ukrainian forces would suffer tremendous casualties comparable to the fighting in 2014 and 2015. Are Ukrainian officers and soldiers willing to die to preserve Poroshenko’s presidency? That appears rather unlikely.

This may in turn explain why the November 27, 2018 edition of Uryadovy Kuryer which publishes all public legal acts, ran not the Rada version of limited martial law but Poroshenko’s initial decree which is contradiction of Ukraine’s legal practices, thus setting up a potential constitutional crisis. While Poroshenko will cling to power to the last, it’s rather more likely there will be large-scale bloodshed in Kiev than on the Donbass.

United States

While Nikki Haley ran through the usual litany of grievances against Russia, Donald Trump only called on “both sides” to refrain from further provocations, which was greeted with dismay by America’s professional Russiagaters. The biggest problem, from their perspective, is the upcoming Argentina G-20 summit where Putin and Trump are scheduled to meet. Indeed, both sides affirmed the preparations for the meeting are continuing in spite of the Kerch incident. It still remains to be seen whether the meeting will be held. However, this being already the late 2018, Trump is running out of time to make his hoped for diplomatic breakthrough with Russia which needs to happen before his re-election bid begins in 2020. The expected second wave of “Skripal sanctions” has not materialized in November of 2018, as originally planned, and the Kerch Incident so far has not given it an additional impetus, either.

Europe

Again, there was nothing but a standard list of grievances and calls to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, but without any substantive action being proposed.  European “demands” included re-opening the Kerch Strait to international shipping, which was an easy one for Russia to “meet” since that was not the intent in the first place, though it will likely take longer to return Ukrainian vessels and crews to Ukraine. About the most hostile European reaction came from the captain of HMS Duncan, a Royal Navy destroyer in the Black Sea who boasted his 48 missiles supposedly could have easily taken down the 17 Russian aircraft his radars detected. But that was more than outweighed by the EU’s suspension of consultations with Ukraine on gas transit following the announcement of martial law. It would appear that EU is also tired of the hapless and corrupt Poroshenko regime.

Conclusion

The incident has shown Poroshenko has become a very isolated figure both within and outside of Ukraine. He lacks a domestic power base and, more importantly, his international support has waned. Europe, in particular, seems tired of the conflict with Russia and is thoroughly disillusioned with Ukraine, but predictably wants to preserve face, possibly with the help of Yulia Tymoshenko who has not burned nearly as many bridges with Russia as Poroshenko did.  For the United States, the conflict with Russia is a distraction with the far more important one with China, thus improving relations  with Putin is essential.

Still, it has only been a few days since the Kerch incident, and the anti-Russia factions in the US and EU were caught by surprise by the incident which indicates it was planned entirely in Kiev. There is still time for them to mount a counteroffensive by forcing through more sanctions and engage in other chicaneries. In 2014 and subsequent years, that would have been the inevitable outcome. But it’s not the same world anymore in late 2018.

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  • George Pitts

    This was not entirely planned by Kiev. Mike pompeo met with Ukrainian officials 9 days before it happened. Check Blackstone Intelligence for details.

    • Feudalism Victory

      True ukraine is so dependent on loans and arms(and trainers to use them) it cant have much independence left. Maybe none actually.

      • Carne João Pasta

        This is what I was alluding to in my snarky phrase earlier, ‘there is no Ukraine.’

    • Promitheas Apollonious

      true.

    • You can call me Al

      + UK just happened to have a ship there.

    • Omega

      Precisely.

      According to Valentin Vasilescu at Voltairenet – who had predicted what the FSB confirmed: that the US (and Israel) were behind the incident – it was destined to collect land and sea intel on Russian military in and around Crimea.

  • Vince Dhimos

    This time the risk of war is not what it seems. The Kerch Strait affair seems to be mostly political. http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/military-affairs/poroshenko-desperate-to-save-his-political-life-spins-tale-of-imminent-invasion

    • Spit

      The Russians are Stronger than the Brits who want to drag America into a war.
      The Russians are in fact Stronger than even Nato and they know it.
      if this turns hot, Nukes will not be used. American anti aircraft weapons and Russian S-300 and all derivitive will put Iron or whatever into Your Face at mach 20
      This is a war NATO will lose. because China will Finish the Job.

  • You can call me Al

    The Ukraine should ask the EU outright, if it will be a member…. and then find out for themselves, how much they have been played and ruined by the US & EU. If they weren’t such numpties, you could almost feel sorry for them.

    • Spit

      The Ukrain will not.
      It doesnt have the balls to ask Russian Slavs for forgiveness.
      Ukraine is broken by America. You expect those who attacked a Slav to have somekind of Humanity to save itself?
      Ukrainian leadership is Oligarh. This is what destroyed the USSR

    • ColinNZ

      Love the Paul Simon pic from the official video of the (excellent) track that represents your posting handle …. for some reason the Youtube track was at a low recording level so needs volume pumped up. Ps. good post re Ukraine idiots … it amazes me that so many populations fall for it … nearby Moldova was in a similar mess of Eu promises just before Ukraine walked into the same ambush … clueless doesn’t cover it.

      • You can call me Al

        Thanks. Catch you again. Cheers.

        PS Yes you are right about the Youtube track, try with earphones….. now that is more like it.

  • Just Aman

    This may be of interest –

    The following is just a mix of speculation and heresay from a Ukranian Blogger, so no idea if any is true. Also, he is no longer on the internet – vanished as soon as martial law was even discussed much less approved – which makes it dificult to verify anything. I was not sure if it was even worth leaving this comment because of that, but what if there is some truth in the following?

    If nothing else it is interesting, (this is from memory, not verbatim):

    1) ………a fight between ‘our’ (Ukranian?) Intelligence Officers and the English ‘spooks’ (Bloggers word) on board (unable to remember name or number of vessel)…..

    2) Erratic manouvers made during fighting with spooks to alert Russians they were heading to thier water with ‘malintent’ (Bloggers word) and attract thier assistance/support/intervention (cant remember exact word).

    3) Something about the Ukranian crew being ‘heros’ by arresting spooks and preventing a major international incident

    4) Something about English ‘spooks’ everywhere causing trouble and how they should be paraded in disgrace

    5) Something else about Ukranian gun boats in Sea of Azov being told to stand down and allow the Russians to capture the spooks and prevent a much bigger crisis.

    6) Something about the crews of the boats being heros of Ukraine and preventing English spooks from starting a fight with Russia, a fight Ukraine people did not ask for or want.

    Well, if any of that is true it changes the dynamics of this ‘incident’ and shows that the erratic manouvers of the Ukrainan boats were the act of heros not fools.
    They got the Russians attention and it gave the Russians enough time to protect the bridge and intercept at a safe distance from the bridge.
    The UK supplied equipment (and personnel) must now surely be in Moscow by now. I assume the Brits, like those found in Syria, are being, well, how shall I put it, ‘interviewed’.

    Surely someone can find some traces of this on the internet somewhere and pull up the exact quotes or pages of this blogger. It really does add up in light of some of the other leaks about the bridge, etc.

    There was clearly much more to this ‘incident’ than meets the eye, and with Russia now moving anti-ship missile batteries to the bridge, the evidence is building.

    • Feudalism Victory

      And that british ship in the black sea with its missles. Makes some sense.

  • Spit

    There are no consequences.
    For Russia.
    The Might is right and her terretory will be defended. Men will die a few men.
    There are no consequences. I estimate 100 Russians dead worst case Scenerio.

  • leon mc pilibin

    Zionist anti Christs only exist for one thing only,WAR;THEFT;LYING,GENOCIDE,and aided and abetted by their fake new media.

  • ColinNZ

    UK were primed and in the area, so were probably part of the planning. And as George says, nothing goes down without a US nod which probably explains Pompeo’s visit 10 days ago. I actually agree with the author that the anglozionists have tired of Porky and maybe even allowed him to make this mistake. If so I think they will now put You-liar in his place and hope she provides a better and more-sustainable anti-Russia burden on her border.

    • You can call me Al

      Yep. I wonder if this whole fiasco is that the EU is getting fed up with the Russian sanctions ?….. except my arse lickers in the UK. Whatever it is, it is shameful, disgraceful and embarrassing for Europe and the US

  • Madd Bassist

    I wonder if Poroshenko knows he’s a dead man.

  • Sinbad2

    Some Americans and some Britons partying with the Russian President, at the Russian Tzar’s palace in Russian Crimea 1945.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/styles/inline_image_desktop/public/inline-images/or-41832.jpg?itok=GstqDFPz