Tensions in relations between Russia and Ukraine continues to grow. After the incident in the Strait of Kerch from Kiev, accusations are being heard that Russia now wants to be the “mistress of the sea”, at least in the Black Sea region. That is, it claims to control not only the Azov, but also the Black Sea, said military expert Alexander Musienko on the air of ObozTV. True, he did not explain whether Russia is up to date with the plans attributed to her. However, after the statements of the expert, apparently, already in the know, so that the relevant departments have something to think about, wonder, look in their bins for the above plans. Maybe something forgotten.
“Russia is increasing its presence in the Crimea, because it is trying to control the waters of the Black Sea, to declare itself as master. Of course, there are NATO countries there – Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. But Turkey is only now beginning to develop naval bases in the Black Sea, their main fleet is concentrated in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, ”Musienko complained.
In his opinion, Russia has several reasons for such behavior. First, in order to ensure the safety of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, “since it’s a lot of money for Russia, it lives with the help of gas.” Secondly, to create problems for Ukraine on the trade routes.
“In the future, they want us to cut off trade routes not only from Azov, but also from the Black Sea – these are huge economic losses for Ukraine,” the expert is experiencing.
In general, Musienko stated, all hope for NATO. As the president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko says, he has already agreed that the alliance will monitor the situation in the Sea of Azov. But he is counting on more.
“We also support the idea of starting a NATO mission in the Sea of Azov in order to gain public understanding of the situation in the region and ensure security there. This is what we need,” he said on December 13 in Brussels after talks with the NATO Secretary General.
Earlier, Kiev called on the OSCE to start monitoring the Sea of Azov, which on its page on Facebook was quick to inform the Ukrainian representative at the talks in Minsk, Irina Gerashchenko.
“The Ukrainian side expressed a strong protest against the open armed aggression of the Russian Federation in the Sea of Azov and called on the OSCE CMM, whose mandate covers the entire territory of Ukraine, to immediately begin enhanced monitoring of the Azov Sea and adjacent territories, which should be free, according to the Minsk agreements, from heavy weapons and technology, ”she wrote.
In response, OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greming called on Ukraine and Russia to avoid provocations and start negotiations. And what he, in fact, still remained? In the EU, the idea seems to have also been skeptical and, according to RIA Novosti, consider the expansion of the OSCE mission in the Sea of Azov problematic, given the position of Russia. Earlier, she was designated by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at a meeting with his German counterpart, Heiko Meas.
“Yes, he raised this question at our meeting, expressed a number of other ideas. I explained to him the futility of such initiatives,” Lavrov replied at a press conference on December 7 to the question about the Maas proposal to expand the activities of the OSCE mission to the Sea of Azov.
The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry also explained that no one would forbid discussing this, but the OSCE has a specific mandate that extends to the land territory of Ukraine.
“It even lists areas in which there is a representative office of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. No observations and intermediaries are required either in the Sea of Azov or in the Kerch Strait. It is required to strictly comply with the safety rules during the passage of the Kerch Strait, as I would like to emphasize once again, that the naval boats of Ukraine did in September and how they decided not to do it on November 26. Of course, it is necessary to strictly observe and respect the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation, not to violate our laws, ”Lavrov stressed.
Having failed to expand the OSCE mission to the Kerch Bay and the Sea of Azov, Germany and France still want to observe shipping in the Sea of Azov.
“Now we are trying to, at least, representatives from Germany and France can watch the passage of ships there,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on the eve, speaking in the Bundestag. At the same time, she added that the Russian side had assured of the need for reasonable shipping in the Sea of Azov, but “words follow actions”.
Russian experts are ironic of the “fabulous” scenarios of Ukrainian experts. Vladimir Olenchenko, a senior fellow at the Center for European Studies at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, recalled that Russia went to the Black Sea even in Byzantium.
– Now there are certain interests, mechanisms in which Russia participates, for example, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, there are certain projects, so the statement that Russia wanted something in the Black Sea sounds at least strange.
If Russia yesterday declared itself the Black Sea power, then it would probably be like that, but Russia has been present in the Black Sea zone since the 10th century, and for these ten centuries, it would probably have had a certain stereotype. And it has developed.
– Why does Russia consider the expansion of the OSCE mandate unpromising?
– There are some areas, projects that are one-sided, bilateral or trilateral in nature. What is being offered is an attempt at internationalization. If we internationalize it, new factors appear, which is a complication of the situation, but not its simplification.
We remember the attempts to internationalize the Caspian Sea. They lasted for about 30 years, and only recently an agreement was signed that confirms that the Caspian is an inland water body of the border states. There are quite a few such examples. Why the Sea of Azov should be an exception, I do not know. I would like to hear the arguments.
– Angels Merkel’s statements that Germany and France still want to control shipping in the Sea of Azov may be connected with this?
- It seems to me, if we talk about control, it is introduced for something. Whether we take the Black, Azov or Caspian seas, in any case, we are talking about normal economic activity there. What are the reasons for Germany to act as an auditor on how business activities should be carried out? I do not see any reason. We do not claim to control shipping in the Baltic Sea in the area adjacent to Germany.
– Can these statements be associated with the latest reports of the impending attack of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the Mariupol direction?
– Of course. Unfortunately, we observe in the information space that all attacks against Russia or attempts to restrict Russia’s rights, or impose its will, are very coordinated and synchronized and, as a rule, it is impossible to take any element in isolation. As it turns out, they are interconnected.
You can, of course, argue that these statements are made to divert attention. It can be assumed that if the Kiev authorities aggravate the military situation against Donetsk and Lugansk, and, of course, support Poroshenko there (in the West), Then Russia will again be blamed.
The Kiev authorities themselves generate violence and, apparently, assist the United States. All this ultimately creates tension and interferes with normal economic and cultural activities in Europe. Why do Western European countries themselves create difficulties, this is a question.