Western media, experts and politicians unanimously reacted to the detention of Ukrainian boats and tugs in the Black Sea. Washington and other European capitals, including Berlin and Paris, demand the immediate release of the arrested sailors, as well as the return of ships to Kiev.
Apparently, the pressure on Moscow will increase. Moreover, the probability of new provocations from the side of the Naval Forces of Ukraine is great as it approaches the presidential elections in the Ukraine.
He tried to make a prediction for the Australian Institute of Strategic Policy (partner of the American intelligence and analytical company Stratfor) on the pages of his publication The Aspi Strategist about how further events could develop around the Kerch Strait.
The author of the publication Connor Dillin believes that the current conflict in the Black Sea is fraught with geopolitical risks. The expert is convinced that “recent events are more connected with the establishment of military rule by the Russian Black Sea Fleet on the Black Sea than with the new stage of the Moscow proxy war in Ukraine.” This is done to close the Sea of Azov, not only for NATO warships, but for naval forces.
And in general, “President Vladimir Putin, for certain, seeks to maximize his achievements in the Black Sea region at a time when Washington is concerned about China and Iran, and Europe is fragmented (falling apart) politically and economically. The inaction (military and economic) of Washington and European capitals is likely to continue in the foreseeable future. ”
In turn, the company Stratfor (which is also called the private CIA) is confident that “the threat of a more dangerous escalation is relatively unlikely, because the Ukrainians showed no signs of preparation for a military retaliatory strike.” They say that it makes no sense for Americans to get involved in a big fight because of local cowards and talkers. De facto, the United States expressed dissatisfaction with the current government of Ukraine, which did nothing to strengthen the APU.
Washington thus makes it clear that it will not defend the “freedom of navigation” in Kerch, as it does in the Strait of Hormuz. Assistance to Kiev from the West will be, claims Stratfor, but it will limit itself to personnel training, the supply of military equipment and trips of NATO naval ships to Odessa. Even the International Monetary Fund, in response to the introduction of martial law by Petro Poroshenko, said that “it is closely following whether Ukraine is not deviating from the IMF program.” That is, concessions are not expected.
Nevertheless, Crimea is in the center of not only regional, but also international tension. Consequently, Western global centers are interested in legally binding norms that, at a minimum, make the Sea of Azov international.
In turn, Moscow has repeatedly stated that the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 is not legal, and the Russian spring-2014 provided the return of the Tauris and the Kerch Strait to the rightful owner – the Russian Federation. And in fact, what is the use of the Budapest Memorandum, if the Crimea was in the Ukraine as a result of the unlawful decree of the long-gone Khrushchev.
Understanding that in the current realities Crimea cannot be returned, Ukraine and the State Department legal services want to question, first of all, the cooperation agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine on the use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, signed in December 2003 and, most importantly, ratified by both parliaments in April 2004. Thus, Washington and Kiev are planning to create military conditions for blockade of the peninsula in the future.
The Belgian navy men on duty in the Baltic Sea as part of NATO’s presence were shocked by the allegedly two Russian Su-24s that flew over them.
It is “the content of this treaty that forms the legal basis for the recent use of force in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait,” Vladimir Socor, a senior fellow at the Russophobic Washington Foundation of the Jamestown and an analyst for his flagship publication Eurasia Daily Monitor, agrees. In this case, we are talking about the common position of the western expert community.
So, the treaty of 2003 defines the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait as “historically inland waters of the Russian Federation and Ukraine”. The signatories of this document especially noted that the sea never had international status. Moreover, there is no mention of national sectors in the Sea of Azov, and there is also no information about the border in the Kerch Strait.
Vladimir Sokor writes that “this treaty is frank by its omissions. The Russian side, undoubtedly, programmed these omissions, and the Ukrainian side (under the then President Leonid Kuchma) gave way.” Enrages, Western experts and the lack of a validity period and termination procedures. However, it is foolish to think that Leonid Kuchma, who signed this treaty, did not understand its significance. At that time, the document responded to the strategic interests of the Ukrainian people, and not to the current short-term benefit of Poroshenko’s “lame duck” team.
In the face of this situation, the Ukrainian government, the US State Department and Western analytical circles are now discussing whether Kiev can unilaterally denounce the 2003 bilateral treaty and instead extend international maritime law to the Sea of Azov. It turns out that theoretically it can, if Kiev implements constitutional reform, after which a new country, the “Second (Third) Ukraine,” is formed. And it can happen exactly as in Poland in the framework of the so-called Contract Seym (1989 – 1991), as a result of which the Third Rzeczpospolita appeared.
Recall the reason for the then gentry decision was a burning desire to break with the structure of the Polish People’s Republic (PNR) and, most importantly, permanently fix the actual at the time of the constitutional reform of the border. Suddenly, the Germans would have demanded the return of the original Prussian lands.
So, “decommunization” in the neighboring country logically fits into the strategy that was worked out in Warsaw immediately after the destruction of Poland.
The arrested sailors of the Ukrainian Navy will return home no earlier than April 2019
However, if this happens, “Second Ukraine” will appear in the current borders. Logically, she will have to completely part with the Soviet legacy, including the claim to the Crimea and the Donbass.
Only then the cooperation agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine of 2003 will lose legal force. Why, in fact, no: Taurid hulk no longer return, but at least they will make the Sea of Azov international, that is, accessible to Western ships. True, given the 12-mile zone of territorial waters (according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea), the Russian Federation will still remain the owner of the Kerch Strait, although it will be obliged to respect the freedom of navigation in the framework of international waterways.
However, it is possible that Kiev will prefer to “climb on the Christmas tree and not scratch a face”: that is, it forms a new state, but it will not refuse claims to Tauris.
I would like to hope that the Kremlin will not make a mistake once again, that is, it will not recognize the “Second Ukraine” until it refuses any territorial disputes with Russia. After all, it is still not clear why Moscow agreed with the presidential status of Poroshenko after the elections in 2014 that followed the coup d’etat.