The British destroyer HMS Defender was recently instructed by the British government to sail within the Crimean 12 kilometer marine boundary. Russian airforce and marine forces responded strongly to this intrusion into the disputed maritime space.
The BBC noted While Moscow claims the peninsula and its waters are Russian territory, the UK says HMS Defender was passing through Ukrainian waters in a commonly used and internationally recognised transit route.
However, this statement from the UK is simply lies. The ‘Defenders’ passage off the coast of Crimea is not in any way ‘recognised transit route’ to anywhere. This was pure and simple provocation by the British.
As Craig Murray (an expert in maritime rulings) notes: There is certainly a right to pass to the Ukrainian port of Odessa – but that in now (sic) way requires passing close to Crimea. This is therefore not “innocent passage”.
That provocation intent is confirmed by the BBC reporter aboard the ‘Defender’ notes; (Defender) Weapons systems on board the Royal Navy destroyer had already been loaded.
Perhaps they had hoped to provoke a shooting war with Russian forces just prior to the Nato military ‘Sea Breeze’ exercise in the Black Sea the following week? From a Russian perspective this surely looks like an attempt by NATO to completely surround Russia and attack its borders.
As the History website notes, Crimea had been part of Russia for 200 years until 1954, when it was gifted to the Soviet Republic of the Ukraine by the then Russian Premier, Nikita Khrushchev. This was to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the historic decision by Ukraine to unify with tsarist Russia. At that time, it would have been impossible to foresee that the Soviet Union would collapse and split into separate republics, that the borders would have to be renegotiated and that Ukraine would again be an independent country.
More importantly, Sevastopol had been Russia’s only ‘warm water’ (not shut in by ice over winter) naval base since 1783, when Catherine the Great ‘acquired’ it from the Turks.
And once the Ukrainian 2014 Maidan coup leaders made their decisions to designate Ukrainian Russian speaking citizens second class citizens by making the Ukrainian language the only official language of the Ukraine, the Russian speaking Crimean split from Ukraine was inevitable. That split has however never been recognised by Western powers or Ukraine.
The British report that the Russians did not fire ‘at’ HMS Defender is indeed true, but simply semantics ; warning shots are just that-not fired at the aggressor, but fired just far enough away to demonstrate that the defender will fire directly at the aggressor if they continue to approach.
What the British government was hoping to achieve by this deliberate provocation is hard to know. The action was purely and simply adolescent and stupid and could very easily have lead to a hot war, and potentially a nuclear exchange.
Britannia -despite Boris Johnson’s wish to be some kind of Churchill, no longer rules the waves. As Craig Murray notes, this gunboat diplomacy by Britain is lunacy.
One wonders what would happen should a heavily armed Russian destroyer with weapon systems activated, stroll across Britain’s maritime borders near the Portsmouth Naval Base, or perhaps the illegally occupied Chagos Islands and the huge American military base there at Diego Garcia?; accidentally of course.
British promises to conduct more ‘freedom of navigation’ exercises near Russian Crimea military bases that defend Russia’s southern flank…..