Russia’s response to the provocation at the Crimean Bridge did not infuriate Kiev. The ships of the Ukrainian Navy will continue to go through the Kerch Strait, said Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak.
According to him, the Ukrainian Armed Forces will not stop the “strengthening of opportunities.” “The ships will make the same transitions in compliance with all international norms and rights when they are ready for this,” promised Poltorak.
“If the Ukrainian side refused to allow its ships to pass through the Kerch Strait, this would mean that Russia fully occupied the Sea of Azov,” the minister explained.
Poltorak’s reference to international norms should not mislead the Russian side. It only means that another incident can happen in the same “legal” logic. Russia should expect and prepare for a new round of confrontation. After all, another provocation preceded the Kerch provocation – at the end of September. Then the Donbass control ship and the Koretz tug with armed crews on board entered from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov, without requesting permission from the Russian side.
According to the captain of the first rank Dmitry Kovalenko, who led the transition, the Ukrainian sailors deliberately invaded Russian waters without demand and were preparing for a collision: they put fire hose to flush the Russian border guards from the deck, and demonstrated weapons. Russia attacked that attack and then somehow settled the incident “peacefully.”
Perhaps it is this circumstance that explains the harsh reaction to the repetition of provocation in November. The seizure of violating vessels, the arrest and placement of all crew members in the SIZO is intended to demonstrate to Kiev that the jokes are over. It is clear that the new provocation will again end with arrests of ships and sailors.
But such a tactic – sending for a guaranteed arrest of their ships very soon can lead to the fact that the Ukrainian fleet will simply move to the “penalty area” in Kerch, where the Gyurza-M series armored boats are now located. Or maybe it will be completely sunk if it resists. Russia has enough forces and means.
However, the Americans can help Kiev. As early as mid-October, it became known that Washington intended to transfer to Ukraine old decommissioned frigates of the Oliver Hazard Perry type. They are already 50 years old and maintaining ships in a state of combat can fly into a pretty penny. But for one-time use – sending to the slaughter, these ships are quite suitable.
With people – performers of provocations even easier. For this select ideological Bandera. So, one of the arrested Ukrainian sailors – the commander of the boat “Berdyansk” Roman Mokryak became in his time a national hero who refused to take the oath of Russia in the Crimea. Later he became the author of the concept of the “wolf pack” – a collective attack by the “mosquito fleet” of Ukraine on Russian ships.
Former commander of the Coastal Forces and Marine Corps of the Black Sea Fleet of the Navy of the USSR and Russia (1986–1995), Major General Vladimir Romanenko does not believe in the success of Kiev in the waters of the Black and Azov Seas because of Russia’s total superiority.
- It would be better if Poltorak commanded his tanks and did not climb into an area where he did not understand anything. By force, Ukraine, which has no fleet at all at the moment, cannot resolve this issue.
Coastal artillery and missile systems there “run” along the entire coast and at any moment can strike across the entire water area of the Black Sea. What do they pretend to be naval commanders ?!
The rocket flight time is 2–3 minutes. They will not even find traces on the water surface. Already after my service there came new complexes. There are both mobile and stationary. Everything is shot through.
– Kiev to justify its position then refers to the Azov Sea Treaty of 2003, it wants to break it …
– Do not refer. The situation has changed. Today, the entire Kerch Strait is a water area belonging to the Russian Federation.
Russian figure skater Elizaveta Tuktamysheva repeated her strip number on demonstration performances after the fourth stage of the Grand Prix in Hiroshima, Japan.
– Ukraine does not want to admit this …
– Yes, it is like a trick, so that later the Western world would say: since Ukrainian ships voluntarily sail there, then Russia recognizes their right to these waters.
We should not be led to this. The precedent we made will allow in the future to change the approaches to the solution of such issues. So let them comply with the norms of international maritime law.
The vice-president of the Russian Maritime Law Association Kamil Bekyashev told us about the possible fate of Ukrainian vessels and crews detained by Russia.
– I don’t recall cases of so brazenly violating the state border, the regime of territorial waters. Because from the point of view of the performers it is a criminal offense, and not everyone will do that. And from the point of view of the state, this is open aggression.
– Ukrainian vessels detained, crews arrested and kept in Moscow detention centers. What will happen to them next?
– If the court proves that a state crime has been committed – the state border, the sovereignty of the Russian Federation has been violated, the court can decide to confiscate the vessels together with their equipment and attract the perpetrators – the crews of the courts to criminal liability. The penalty is up to 6 years. And it will be legal.
It is hard to imagine what noise would have started if Russian ships had committed such a crime. It would be not only a court decision regarding the crews, but also the application of sanctions against our country.
– But after all on ships, ordinary sailors obey the captain. Can they answer to a criminal order?
– Indeed, there is such an order in the fleet: the captain is responsible for everything. This is spelled out in the charters for both merchant and military courts. Therefore, it is possible the court will release ordinary sailors.
According to military expert Boris Rozhin, Kiev will continue to inflate the situation in the Sea of Azov for the sake of its political goals.
– If the Ukrainian courts continue to perform all the necessary legal procedures – in advance to request passage through the Kerch Strait, then they are unlikely to have problems. But if they ignore the procedure in order to continue the conflict, preferably armed (as Poroshenko needs an excuse to extend martial law and attract NATO forces in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea) for several provocations ships still suffice.
Russia, after all, does not focus on Ukrainian legal interpretations, but on its own norms, establishing sovereignty over this territory. Therefore, if necessary, all power means will be used.
– The Americans promised to transfer the old frigates to Kiev, and besides, in the Crimea there are some ships belonging to Ukraine, which Putin asked them to take, but they never took them. For full-fledged operation in the Ukrainian Navy, they may not be suitable, but as a consumable material for a one-time provocation, it is quite …
– Yes. The most commonplace example is the submarine Zaporizhia, which remained in Sevastopol. She was not taken away, because there was a need to replace batteries. In 2015, it cost $ 6 million. Such ships do not represent combat value. You can pick them up, once Russia gives, and send 2-3 ships to the Kerch Strait and watch the reaction. Perhaps the US is sponsoring this.
– And they will find crazy hot people? Those who were on the armored cars, it seems, they are pure Bandera nationalits.
– There are more people of this kind in Ukraine than ships. In addition, the objectives of the action before the personnel were not fully disclosed. The presence of SBushnikov on board suggests that VSUnnikov was not completely trusted.
– Now, after the lapse of time, do you think Kiev has reached its Kerch provocation?
- Yes of course. They wanted to draw the attention of NATO to this issue and attracted. Now it is possible to increase the military presence of NATO in the Black Sea basin.