There seems little doubt that the naval skirmish in the Kerch Strait between Ukrainian and Russian forces last weekend was a deliberate provocation by the Kiev regime.
The three Ukrainian warships detained by Russia in the narrow strait between Crimea and Russia's mainland had reportedly violated Russian maritime territory. The breach was done knowingly and provocatively, ignoring Russian requests for identification. The Ukrainian vessels were heavily armed, with secret agents onboard. Hardly innocent passage.
It's the way Poroshenko and the madcap regime in Kiev have reacted that raises further suspicions of a hidden agenda. Within hours of the incident on Sunday, Kiev declared martial law in parts of Ukraine which are said to be "vulnerable to attack from Russia".
Many Ukrainian citizens have been thrown into confusion by the militarization, which indicates an undue haste by the Kiev regime to escalate tensions.
Poroshenko has since gone on US news channels making sensational claims that his country is "under threat of full-scale war with Russia". As if those histrionics aren't bad enough, the chocolate-tycoon-turned-politician is demanding that Washington and NATO come to his country's "defence".
In an interview with NBC, Poroshenko said he was "counting on the US" to protect Ukraine against "Russian aggression". He also told CNN that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had assured him in a phone call that Washington was ready to "defend Ukrainian sovereignty". Whether Pompeo actually said that or not, is not clear.
President Donald Trump has sounded a little more cautious, saying that he hoped Ukraine and Russia could "straighten things out". However, Trump did indicate he believes the version put out by the Kiev regime that Russia allegedly acted with "aggression" in apprehending the naval vessels and 24 crew members. Trump said he may cancel a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit this weekend in Argentina.
It remains to be seen over the next tense days if the US and NATO mobilize forces in support of the Ukrainian side. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned that Washington and Europe must rein in the Ukrainians from carrying out further reckless acts.
A perplexing question is: was the Kerch Strait incident orchestrated by the Kiev regime with its Western sponsors? Or was it the regime and Poroshenko acting alone, in a desperate bid to drag the United States and NATO into a war with Russia?
History would tell us that naval incidents are a tried-and-trusted way to create a pretext for war by the US. Remember the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 which was contrived by the Johnson administration to launch a full-scale war in Vietnam. Before that notorious false-flag event, we had the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 which triggered the US entering World War I. Also, the sinking of the Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898 which launched the Spanish-American War and subsequently unleashed US imperialist expansionism in the Caribbean and Central America.
The latest Kerch Strait incident follows months of the sinister build-up of US and NATO forces in Ukrainian territory and maritime waters. Washington began to supply lethal weaponry earlier this year in the form of Javelin anti-tank missiles to the Kiev regime, and there are increasing numbers of American, British and other NATO military personnel deployed to train various paramilitary brigades, some of whom openly espouse Neo-Nazi affiliation.
In September, the US reportedly supplied the Ukrainian navy with two gunboats for deployment in the Black Sea.
Just four days before the Kerch clash, Britain also announced it was sending a Royal Navy warship, HMS Echo, to assist with Ukrainian special forces "against Russian aggression". That was followed by the chief of Britain's armed forces making the extraordinary statement that "Russia was a bigger threat than ISIS" — the internationally proscribed jihadist terror group.
We can look at these menacing developments in two ways. The US, Britain and NATO allies are willfully building up offensive forces with a cat's paw regime in Kiev and the incident in the Kerch Strait was then a concerted provocation. The way Poroshenko has reacted by urging the US to deliver on "pledges for protection" may suggest an orchestrated manipulation of pretext.
Alternatively, the scenario is more haphazard, albeit every bit as disgraceful and dangerous. Having indulged the Kiev regime with military support ever since it grabbed power in February 2014 through an illegal, CIA-backed coup against an elected government, the Neo-Nazi cabal around Poroshenko is of the petulant view that it has carte blanche to commit whatever crime it wants.
The Kiev cabal has been waging a terror campaign for over four years against the ethnic Russian populace of eastern Ukraine who refuse to accept its illegitimate coup — and yet the US, European Union and NATO have continued to support this vile regime with weapons and IMF financial loans.
When you have senior figures like Britain's Defense Minister Gavin Williamson only last week vowing "steadfast support in the face of Russian hostilities", then it's no wonder that the Kiev regime feels emboldened to antagonize without any restraint. Because the regime has been led to believe by its patrons in Washington, London and NATO that it has their back.
The provocation against Russia in the Kerch Strait was Poroshenko and the Kiev regime demonstrating their unhinged death wish to start an all-out war. Now this "bandit regime" — as Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova aptly called it — is pushing the world to the abyss. In this despicable game of Kiev chicken, will the US and its NATO partners step back from the brink that they have helped to create?
The views and opinions expressed by the contributor do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.