On Nov. 25, three Ukrainian naval ships made an unauthorized crossing through Russian territorial waters. The Russian Coast Guard took measures to force them to comply with the rules. They did not. There can be little doubt that Kiev sent those ships to deliberately provoke Russia. Every ship that passes through that waterway must contact the Kerch Sea Port authorities, report her route and destination, and be given permission to sail through. It’s really that simple, but Ukraine’s group of ships had not notified Russia in advance of their plans. Warnings to stop their dangerous maneuvering were met with a deaf ear. The Ukrainian vessels defiantly ignored the requests to leave Russia’s territorial waters.
Kiev has rushed to accuse Moscow of “military aggression.” The incident immediately captured the headlines, with Western leaders raising their voices to back Ukraine without even offering any details about exactly what had happened or what had sparked this dangerous turn of events. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wasted no time to express the bloc’s “full support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, including its full navigational rights in its territorial waters under international law.” Canada, Poland, and Denmark, in addition to some other countries, were quick to join their voices to the anti-Russian choir. It serves their purpose to brush aside both the details as well as any attempts to try to gain insight into the real causes of this incident in particular or the deterioration of the situation in the Azov Sea in general.
On Nov. 26, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a bill imposing martial law. Once approved by parliament, it will remain in effect for at least one month. Afterward it can be extended.
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