Apparently, the military-political situation in the Sea of Azov is on the eve of the explosion. Almost simultaneously, several events occurred in Moscow and Kiev, which irrefutably testify to this.
The first. On October 12, President Poroshenko decree No. 320/2018 enacted the decision of his National Security and Defense Council to protect the interests of Ukraine in the Azov and Black Seas, the Kerch Strait, in southern and eastern Ukraine. In a partially classified document, a lot of things are said. But the most important thing, in my opinion, is that in the coming months, Kiev decided to unilaterally determine the coordinates of a certain median line in the Sea of Azov and in the Kerch Strait. This line, according to Poroshenko, will become the new state border between the Ukrainian and Russian internal waters. And the agreement on the mutual recognition of the Sea of Azov by the internal waters of Ukraine and Russia of April 23, 2004 will be immediately thrown into the basket.
Naturally, Russia simply cannot recognize anything like that. How to agree to share equally with the neighboring state the waters of the Kerch Strait, which lies between the Russian Taman and the Crimea? Only if you raise the Ukrainian flag over the Crimea with your own hands. The probability of such a step in Moscow is not worth discussing.
More than that. Such a “sharing” of the Kerch Strait would be like invitations to NATO countries at least with a “business visit” to immediately enter their warships into Berdyansk and Mariupol. The 6th fleet of the US Navy or its allies at the walls of Rostov-on-Don, Taganrog and Krasnodar – only this we lacked in these once surprisingly calm waters!
So, in front of Moscow, Poroshenko is rapidly bullying a new military-political impasse. But in order that his decree No. 320/2018 does not seem to be an empty sound, he also ordered this week to form a new Regional Marine Protection Directorate in the Black and Azov Seas until the end of 2018. Which, in the opinion of the President of Ukraine, will take under protection both the Black Sea and Azov frontiers of his country all the way from Izmail (Odessa region) to Mariupol (Donetsk region).
The protection of the base of the Black Sea Fleet in Novorossiysk received two new warships. But why?
Naturally, a part of the “border” in the Kerch Strait, independently drawn up in Kiev, will also be included in the management responsibility zone. On October 17, the chairman of the State Border Service of Ukraine, Colonel General Pyotr Tsigkal, said this. According to him, in order to fulfill the increased volume of tasks, the ship-cutter staff of his department will soon be substantially replenished. How to drink – at the expense of urgent purchases abroad. Because it is in this way that it has already been decided to increase the combat potential of the State Border Service of Ukraine in the air over the Sea of Azov – in France, 24 Airbus light patrol helicopters will be purchased in bulk.
Of course, all these merry frontier “dances” in Kiev around the Kerch Strait, which is under the control of Russia, would look almost funny if not for the weighty political support of Poroshenko’s efforts from abroad. It is very likely that there they are simply eager to quickly get involved in the fiercest battle for the Sea of Azov. The loudest public sign of this was the statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, made on Thursday in an interview with RT, France, Le Figaro and Paris Match: “Now Ukraine wants to call up NATO exercises in the Sea of Azov, but we cannot go there, because our the agreement with Ukraine requires mutual consent for the passage of warships into the Sea of Azov. But they want it, and they are actively indulged in this. ”
It turns out that NATO is already at the start, waiting for Azov, even if contrary to Russia’s objections, to lose its status as an inland sea? If Lavrov found it necessary in public in such a tone to discuss the idea of NATO exercises near Berdyansk and Mariupol, it means that the corresponding plans in Brussels and Washington have already been somehow drawn up. And even brought to the attention of Moscow.
Why is this NATO? The logic of such a move in September was expressed by the American private intelligence and analysis company Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting Inc.). In its opinion, Washington is in a position immediately after the cancellation of the Russian-Ukrainian agreement on the inland sea to tangibly increase support for Kiev in this direction. For example, sending NATO warships through the Russian-controlled Kerch Strait to visit the country’s ports of Azov. This is capable, according to Stratfor, to dramatically change the nature of the conflict.
And do not dismiss such intentions from the threshold, referring to the well-known Azov shoal. Yes, ships of the 6th Fleet of the US Navy go there is difficult. The draft of the main “workhorses” of this fleet – destroyers of Arley Burk-type URO-type missiles – more than 9 meters, if you consider the fairing of the under-the-mouth hydroacoustic station
any “Arly Burke”. International rules for the passage through the Kerch-Yenikalsky Canal do not allow ships and ships with a draft of more than 8 meters into it. And it was not Russia who invented it – these are the hydrological features of the fairway. But those who calm themselves in this way completely overlook the fact that the NATO countries in the Black Sea also have other possibilities. For example, under appropriate political conditions, the ships of the naval forces of Romania and Bulgaria could enter the ports of Ukraine of Azov (we will not take Turkey into account, given its complex relationship with Washington). In response to any request from the Americans in Bucharest and in Sofia In recent years, respond with dear soul, no doubt. At the same time, both fleets have someone to send in such a clearly anti-Russian campaign. The Romanians, for example, have completely non-old former Soviet rocket boats of the type “Lightning” of project 1241. Or relatively small corvettes of the project 1048 M (according to the NATO code Tetal II). The Bulgarians have the same “Lightning” and small anti-submarine ships of the project 12412. Russia, of course, is able to block the Kerch Strait in the way of such “guests” at any time in many ways. Including – by force of arms. But, first, what grounds will we have for this, after Kiev canceled the agreement of April 23, 2004? And, secondly, the frontal collision with NATO near Kerch still needs to be decided. Will it work? It is very similar that Moscow may have problems with this. Do you remember the September September heroic “breakthrough” of two unarmed auxiliary vessels of the Ukrainian Navy from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov? Outwardly, the transfer of the Donbass command ship and the Korets sea tug from Odessa to Mariupol almost senseless from a military point of view? It is possible that the main thing for Kiev and the Pentagon that day was to understand how Moscow would react to the appearance of uninvited “guests” in the strait? And it seems that until recently the Russian side decided: to let Donbass with Korets into our common sea so far or not to let it pass? Let’s analyze the details of that demonstrative operation again. Most definitely, both in Moscow and in Sevastopol, in the highest political and military circles reigned uniform turmoil. Otherwise, why did the middle reconnaissance ship of Project 864 Priazovie, the border guard patrol ships Amethyst and Don, anti-sabotage boats of the Raptor type, the Coast Guard boats FSB RF? Total – up to 10 units. Why did the commander of the “Azov Sea” risky maneuver, moving closer to the Donbass literally to a pistol shot – at a distance of only two cables (about 350-400 meters)? Why on that day the airplane intelligence officer Boeing RC-135V US Air Force with tail number 64−14848? Why there was the Ukrainian military transport aircraft An-26 in the air? Why did Russian multipurpose Su-30SM, which came in emergency from the Crimean Belbek aerodrome, fly above the masts of “Donbass” and “Korets” anxiety ? I can not find another explanation: This “dog dump” in Kerch occurred only because Moscow has existed reasonable suspicion: Kiev still went to a large-scale provocation. Then it was considered for the benefit of not aggravate. And the auxiliary vessels of the Naval Forces of Ukraine not without nerves missed where they were headed. But it became obvious: our country does not have a clear plan of action in case of such sudden passes. This did not escape the attention of the people who sent their Boeing RC-135V reconnaissance plane to the area of the imminent conflict on September 21. Now imagine what would happen if the warship of Donbass and Korets was soon followed by NATO warships? Little, judging by the words of Lavrov, does not seem to him or to us. So Washington is just the right thing! A sign that the situation around the Azov Sea threatens to get out of control of Moscow. Our military leadership decided to immediately build up forces in these waters. Additional warships along inland waterways heading south follow from the far North-West of Russia. Namely: two border patrol ships of the 3rd rank of the project 10410 of the “Firefly” type (according to the NATO classification Svetljak-class) – PSKR-920 “Syktyvkar” (until May 1996 – the “Brilliant” “) And PSKR-921” Kizlyar “(the former” 300 years of the navy of Russia “). On October 10, they proceeded through the Cheboksary Reservoir. We can assume that Novorossiysk will become the end point of the Syktyvkar and Kizlyar transition. It is in this city that the 21st separate brigade of border patrol ships of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation is based, which
Paradise is responsible for the inviolability of our borders in the Sea of Azov. Powerful enough connection. But, it turns out, his current forces may not be enough. Until recently, both Syktyvkar and Kizlyar served in the Barents Sea. It is a restless region as well – near NATO s Norway. Near Russian borders near Norway, starting October 25, the largest NATO exercises for the last two decades with the participation of the US Navy aircraft carrier Harry Truman begin. And yet, it turns out – Kerch is hot. And soon, perhaps, everything there will become hot just white.
In total, in Yaroslavl and St. Petersburg, on order of the Coast Guard of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, 33 Svetlyachok type border guard patrol ships were built. The construction of a very successful series, begun in 1988, continues to this day. Another ship was transferred to the Balaklava Brigade of border ships in 2015. Each such PCRD is armed with a 76-mm automatic AK-176M universal artillery system with an effective firing range of up to 12 kilometers. For self-defense – automatic installation of AK-630M and 16 MANPADS of the “Igla” type. The maximum speed of travel is 32 knots.