10:54 GMT12 July 2020
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    Russia’s first Deputy Envoy to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, expressed concern on Monday that as a result of the western reaction to the incident in the Kerch Strait, Ukraine could feel emboldened to stage further provocations. Sputnik spoke about it to senior research fellow at the Global Policy Institute, George Szamuely.

    Sputnik: Do you agree with Russia's concerns that the result of the UNSC meeting could encourage Ukraine to stage further provocations?

    George Szamuely: I think so because the UNSC meeting was to an extraordinary extent an endorsement of Ukraine's position; it wasn't in any way an attempt to see two sides of the issue. And there was no attempt to urge a peaceful outcome of the crisis. Instead, the leading powers at the Security Council, in particular, Great Britain, which was the most belligerent yesterday, was really urging Ukraine to pursue its confrontational policy.

    Sputnik: What is the danger of the situation escalating? We've already got UK and US armed forces in Ukraine and UK Defence Minister Gavin Williamson a few days ago promised more troops and a Royal Navy ship to be sent…

    George Szamuely: Because of the fact the British and the Americans have adopted the Ukrainian position as their own, and are essentially egging-on Ukraine to resolve this matter in Ukraine's favour. So rather than urge Ukraine to focus on the Minks accords and seek some kind of reconciliation- some negotiating process with the Donetsk and Lugansk entities — they are urging Ukraine to use some kind of force to resolve its disputes with Russia.

    READ MORE: Poroshenko Ignited Kerch Row to Bolster Image as Ukraine's ‘Protector'

    So what's happening now is the British and the Americans are urging Ukraine — ‘so why don't you provoke Russia a little more'. And from the British and American perspective, this is quite a nice deal, because whichever way it goes it's a victory for them.

    If Ukraine tries to go through again the Kerch Strait and the Russian just let it go then, of course, it's great as effectively the Russians have just accepted that these are Ukrainian territorial waters and the reincorporation of Crimea into Russia is not a done deal; and therefore they've accepted that Ukraine still has some kind of sovereignty over Crimea.

    Or the Russians behave as they did the other day in that they refuse to accept Ukraine just waltzing through Russian territorial waters without any kind of permission. In which case, the more there is a confrontation, the use of force, the more they can try to push NATO into an aggressive mode.

    Sputnik: In the mainstream media the line is very much ‘Russia attacks Ukraine again' which takes me straight back to 2008 and the coverage of the conflict in South Ossetia. So everything seems to have been already turned on its head and there's little or no mention in mainstream media that these were Russian territorial waters; the impression given is that Russia and Ukraine can normally come and go as they like, no warning has to be given; what's your take on that?

    George Szamuely: Yes, you're absolutely right, that's exactly how the media are presenting this, that the Kerch Strait is somehow international waters and Ukraine can simply come and go as they please. And then there's a whole lot of ridiculous statements which is that ‘Russia is seizing the Azov sea, Russia is pushing Ukraine out of the Black Sea, all which are completely nonsensical, but it's all part of the general propaganda campaign.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    provocation, United Nations, UN Security Council (UNSC), Crimea, Kerch Strait, Ukraine, Russia
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