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Pat Buchanan: Is Putin The Provocateur In The Kerch Crisis?

Pat Buchanan: Is Putin The Provocateur In The Kerch Crisis?

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via The Unz Review:


On departure for the G-20 gathering in Buenos Aires, President Donald Trump canceled his planned weekend meeting with Vladimir Putin, citing as his reason the Russian military’s seizure and holding of three Ukrainian ships and 24 sailors.

But was Putin really the provocateur in Sunday’s naval clash outside Kerch Strait, the Black Sea gateway to the Sea of Azov?

Or was the provocateur Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko?

First, a bit of history.

In 2014, after the pro-Russian regime in Kiev was ousted in a coup, and a pro-NATO regime installed with U.S. backing, Putin detached and annexed Crimea, for centuries the homeport of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

With the return of Crimea, Russia now occupied both sides of Kerch Strait. And this year, Russia completed a 12-mile bridge over the strait and Putin drove the first truck across.

The Sea of Azov became a virtual Russian lake, access to which was controlled by Russia, just as access to the Black Sea is controlled by Turkey.

While the world refused to recognize the new reality, Russia began to impose rules for ships transiting the strait, including 48 hours notice to get permission.

Ukrainian vessels, including warships, would have to notify Russian authorities before passing beneath the Kerch Strait Bridge into the Sea of Azov to reach their major port of Mariupol.

Sunday, two Ukrainian artillery ships and a tug, which had sailed out of Odessa in western Ukraine, passed through what Russia now regards as its territorial waters off Crimea and the Kerch Peninsula. Destination: Mariupol.

The Ukrainian vessels refused to obey Russian directives to halt.

Russian warships fired at the Ukrainian vessels and rammed the tug. Three Ukrainian sailors were wounded, and 24 crew taken into custody.

Russia’s refusal to release the sailors was given by President Trump as the reason for canceling his Putin meeting.

Moscow contends that Ukraine deliberately violated the new rules of transit that Kiev had previously observed, to create an incident.

For his part, Putin has sought to play the matter down, calling it a “border incident, nothing more.”

“The incident in the Black Sea was a provocation organized by the authorities and maybe the president himself. … (Poroshenko’s) rating is falling … so he needed to do something.”

Maxim Eristavi, a fellow at the Atlantic Council, seems to concur:

“Poroshenko wants to get a head start in his election campaign. He is playing the card of commander in chief, flying around in military uniform, trying to project that he is in control.”

Our U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, however, accused Russia of “outlaw actions” against the Ukrainian vessels and “an arrogant act the international community will never accept.”

Predictably, our interventionists decried Russian “aggression” and demanded we back up our Ukrainian “ally” and send military aid.

Why was Poroshenko’s ordering of gunboats into the Sea of Azov, while ignoring rules Russia set down for passage, provocative?

Because Poroshenko, whose warships had previously transited the strait, had to know the risk that he was taking and that Russia might resist.

See Also

Why would he provoke the Russians?

Because, with his poll numbers sinking badly, Poroshenko realizes that unless he does something dramatic, his party stands little chance in next March’s elections.

Immediately after the clash, Poroshenko imposed martial law in all provinces bordering Russia and the Black Sea, declared an invasion might be imminent, demanded new Western sanctions on Moscow, called on the U.S. to stand with him, and began visiting army units in battle fatigues.

Some Westerners want even more in the way of confronting Putin.

Adrian Karatnycky of the Atlantic Council urges us to build up U.S. naval forces in the Black Sea, send anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, ratchet up sanctions on Russia, threaten to expel her from the SWIFT system of international bank transactions, and pressure Europe to cancel the Russians’ Nord Stream 2 and South Stream oil pipelines into Europe.

But there is a larger issue here.

Why is control of the Kerch Strait any of our business?

Why is this our quarrel, to the point that U.S. strategists want us to confront Russia over a Crimean Peninsula that houses the Livadia Palace that was the last summer residence of Czar Nicholas II?

If Ukraine had a right to break free of Russia in 1991, why do not Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk have the right to break free of Kiev?

Why are we letting ourselves be dragged into everyone’s quarrels — from who owns the islets in the South China Sea, to who owns the Senkaku and Southern Kurils; and from whether Transnistria had a right to secede from Moldova, to whether South Ossetia and Abkhazia had the right to break free of Georgia, when Georgia broke free of Russia?

Do the American people care a fig for these places? Are we really willing to risk war with Russia or China over who holds title to them?

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JPH
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JPH

Typical limited US view. Omits EU exploiting US installed puppet regime to get the EU association agreement signed in order to relegate Ukraine to the status of EU dependent non-member state as part of the European Neighborhood Policy. This association agreement aims to destroy all existing relations and trade with Russia.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/war-in-ukraine-a-result-of-misunderstandings-between-europe-and-russia-a-1004706.html

Olivia Kroth, author and journalist
Member

Limited view indeed! Sometimes it seems to me as if the US “Deep State” had gone blind.

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Remove Russia annexed Crimea, when just like the US on 4 July 1776, the people used self determination, to go home to Russia, I liked the article.
comment image

A.F.Veth
Guest
A.F.Veth

Crimea is Ukraine, illegal fascist occupation or not.

Klink
Guest
Klink

The US supports occupation by foreign entities if it suits their goals.
The Middle east for example with special emphasis on the jews occupation of Palestine

Cudwieser
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Cudwieser

Sorry for going off topic, but how do you become a member of Duran Hants?

Isabella
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Isabella

As soon as I got to ‘Russia annexed Crimea” I quit reading. More Yank propaganda, self directed mindset.
It you want to accuse someone of “annexation” Mr. B [verb “to annex”, to invade and forcibly take over a sovereign nation attaching it to the control of the invader nation against the wishes of the populace], please look to who it was who invaded North Mexico and took it over, annexed it “America” and claimed ownership.
No Yank, anywhere, has any right to accuse anyone of “annexation” until they hand the Southern states involved back to Mexico.

Normski
Member
Normski

Absolutely spot on!. The problems is – the “exceptional nation” believes it can do whatever it likes regardless of any law whether domestic or international and accuse anyone of anything so long as it suits the US geopolitical agenda!.

fred
Guest
fred

most people in the “exceptional nation” don’t even know this

Jake Breker
Guest

Deep state is not interested in the sheeples sentiments regarding the Kersh strait, South Ossetia etc. The deep state wants all non one world order Russians (which is most of them) wiped off the face of the earth. They could care less how that is accomplished.

Randy
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Randy

When was Crimea annexed by Russia? The people of Crimea through their right to self-determination (noted in UN documents) 1. voted to leave Ukraine. 2. voted to join Russia.

Normski
Member
Normski

Exactly – of course USA/NATO didn’t get the prize they really desired which was the sea port of Sevastopol which would have given USA/NATO a permanent military base right in Russia’s back yard. When something suits the US/NATO geopolitical agenda it’s perfectly legal!.
If there’s one thing I have learnt during my life time it’s that USA/NATO make up the rules as the go along to serve their on geopolitical agenda’s!.

fred
Guest
fred

self-determination only counts for the wealthy elites that want their country to become a vassal of the US so they can enrich themselves

Klink
Guest
Klink

The US and it’s concentration on parts of the World they no longer control should focus their attention on amalgamating North and South America in a way that is beneficial to all the participants.
They ignore this at their peril as the Chinese for one are already moving in to the vacuum.

gra gor
Guest
gra gor

Thinking Canadians don’t want anything to do with them. Not as the 51 – 53rd states and not as a separate country of west coast identities called Cascadia either.

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