Kerch Crisis: Who’s Pulling Poroshenko’s Strings?

Kerch Crisis: Who’s Pulling Poroshenko’s Strings?
Our final topic, picked by you, dear listeners, earlier in a poll on our Facebook page, is “Kerch Crisis: Who’s Pulling Poroshenko’s Strings?”, focusing on the latest drama around Crimea.

Ukraine's naval provocation in the Kerch Strait linking the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea is suspected to have been coordinated with its Western partners who have a history of pulling Poroshenko's strings. Three of Kiev's vessels attempted to illegally cross the Russian maritime border without informing Moscow in advance per the working procedure that's de-facto been in place between the two since Crimea's reunification changed the international frontier there, eventually leading to the FSB having to fire on these ships and ultimately seize them. Nobody was hurt during the border enforcement operation, but a fascist mob lobbed flares at the Russian Embassy in Kiev and burned tires outside of the facility before they were stopped by police.

Crimean leader Sergei Aksonov declared that "I am sure Western patrons of the Kiev regime are behind this provocation — it doesn't look a mere coincidence that European and American politicians have been so concerned over the situation in the Sea of Azov in the recent months." This was seconded by chairman of the international committee of Russia's Federation Council upper parliament house Konstantin Kosachev, who noted that "It is an absolutely senseless idea from the military point of view. But, regrettably, it is a rather promising idea from the political point of view: both NATO and the European Union are sure to stand up for Kiev's provokers, no matter what happens."

Building off of the two politicians' perspectives, the scenario dangerously arises whereby Ukraine might try to replicate the South China Sea strategic template in the Azov and Black Seas. To explain, the so-called "freedom of navigation" principle could be taken advantage by Kiev to call for the US Navy to escort its ships through the Kerch Strait just like they do with their own when patrolling through parts of the South China Sea claimed by Beijing. It's uncertain at this point in time whether the US would risk the resultant brinksmanship with Russia that this aggressive action would provoke, but it's nevertheless a scenario that can't be discounted because the situational dynamics are worryingly moving in this direction.

At the very least, they might be taken advantage of by Trump's "deep state" foes to push for a new round of sanctions against Russia and NATO's increased militarization of the Black Sea region.

Andrew Korybko is joined by Rostislav Babyak, adjunct professor of History and Political Science at University of Texas at El Paso and Joaquin Flores, Chief Editor of Fort Russ News and Director of the Center for Syncretic Studies.

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