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Thread: Sea of Azov: the latest threat to a fragile world

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    Sea of Azov: the latest threat to a fragile world

    The latest game being played by Putin and Ukraine involves a further escalation in tension over the Kerch Strait. This is the only navigable extrance into the Sea of Azov which, since the annexation of Crimea, now has Russian territory on both sides. The Sea of Azov has the important port (for Ukraine) of Mariupol and there is a Russian built bridge across the Strait. The navigable channel goes under the bridge only a mile or so from the coast of Crimea. By agreement, military vessels are not permitted access so the Ukraine should not have such ships (two gunboats, with light armaments, and a tug) entering, but they had informed Russia in advance. A couple of weeks before the Russians had blockaded the channel under the bridge and, in any case, claim a 12 mile territorial ownership of the waters around their territory which would clearly include the navigable entrance to the Sea of Azov. It seems there is escalation and provocation on both sides which could easily get out of hand, especially as NATO are likely to get involved. It is important to note that the Russian annexation of Crimea is not recognised by NATO countries so neither is the declaration of the 12 mile territorial waters.

    It is surprising that these events have not been widely discussed. It is probable that, at least in the UK, everything is drowned out by news about Brexit negotiations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grumzed View Post
    It is surprising that these events have not been widely discussed. It is probable that, at least in the UK, everything is drowned out by news about Brexit negotiations.
    They have but not by the British media/press. (Some comment appearing today.)

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    Still very little comment about this in the UK press. I note concern in some of the US media that Trump will not take a strong line on this:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...=.954b5f880b59

    NATO has slightly increased its presence in the Black Sea but I suspect that having a presence in the Sea of Azov would be too provocative and strategically risky given that the only entrance/exit is so restricted. I'm sure Putin will do his best to maximise his advantage here by stepping up pressure on the Ukraine, and with an obvious indirect threat to other former Soviet satellite states. It's a good time for Putin with the USA President possibly in hock to him, the USA having stark political divisions and Europe also in some turmoil, including the Brexit distracton. From the outside it must look like Putin has to do little more than wait, perhaps with just a few small moves, for his main opponents to self-destruct.

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    Trump is a non-interventionist and is reluctant to get involved in any new conflicts. However, it's probably the CIA that run a lot of the decisions in this area, so he has to be advised on the effectiveness or otherwise of any proposed action. He has seen for himself the results of getting involved in unwinnable wars and certainly sees full on conflict with other superpowers as situations to avoid.
    This is why much of the wars are actually proxy wars, with Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, USA, China simply arming their friends to keep them onside, whilst keeping themselves in the background.

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    This was pretty heavily reported in the press on the day it happened and for a couple of days afterwards. It's certainly a concern.

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