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Discuss: Kerch Strait and Azov Sea Tensions

A general view shows a road-and-rail bridge, which is constructed to connect the Russian mainland with the Crimean peninsula, at sunrise in the Kerch Strait, Crimea November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Pavel Rebrov

The Guardian has a an opinion piece today, titled: The EU’s response to Russia must be bold and unanimous. It is written by German politician Norbert Röttgen, head of the Bundestag foreign affairs committee…and it is simply massively dishonest and one-sided.

The “mainstream” narrative on Ukraine has been corrected to death in the alternate media, there is no need to go back over old ground, suffice to say, here are just few of the relevent facts which Mr Röttgen leaves out of his article:

  • The Kerch Strait is incredibly shallow, it has a canal carved into to the sea bed to allow deep-draft ships to pass. Using the canal requires a pilot, and ships can only go in single file. The Ukrainian naval ships ignored these rules.
  • Ships using the Kerch strait are required to give 72 hours notice, due to the narrowness of the passage and the shallowness of the sea. These rules have been in place for years. Ukraine ignored them.
  • There have been calls – both inside and outside Ukraine – to blow up the Crimean bridge.
  • The Ukrainian naval vessels were sailing with their guns uncovered and refusing to answer radio communications.
  • Petro Poroshenko, incumbent President of Ukraine, has an 8% approval rating heading into the Presidential elections in March of next year.
  • In response to this “incident”, Poroshenko has declared martial law in the 10 Eastern regions of the country. Notably, these are the regions that voted for ousted President Yanukovych and will unquestionably vote against Poroshenko if the elections go ahead in march.
  • The US passed a bill in 2017 legalising attempts to undermine or sabotage “export pipelines” of “hostile nations”. This, among other things, was directly related to the Nordstream 2 pipeline.

If these omissions and inaccuracies have annoyed you to the point you’re thinking of heading over to the Graun to make a comment, well…bad news:

The comments on this story are being pre-moderated, this is being done to keep the thread on topic, and NOT to control the narrative and silence disagreement BTL. So that’s alright.

However, a totally accidental upshot of this drive to keep everyone on topic is that the usually fractious Guardian comments section seems to be broadly in consensus. Funny that.

So don’t waste your time writing a comment that won’t get published over there. Instead, discuss it here – where you won’t pre-emptively censored for disagreeing with the government line.

Important Questions –

  1. 1. Is the re-opening of the “conflict” in Ukraine a response to the complete defeat of NATO’s agenda in Syria?
  2. 2. Why are some Western politicians so insistent Russia ship gas through Ukraine?
  3. 3. Who sees Nordstream 2 as a threat? And why?
  4. 4. How far down the road to outright fascism will Ukraine have to go, before Western politicians comment on it?
  5. 5. Will NATO/EU back Poroshenko is he declares martial law and cancels the March election? Or will they move on to the next incompetent puppet?
Filed under: censorship, discussion threads, On Guardian, Russia, Ukraine

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Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

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Guy Thornton
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Guy Thornton

I watched a press conference given by the Kerch strait authorities about a month ago (probably on RT). The speaker explained that something like 150 ships transit the canal daily and that on the day of the incident there were already over 150 ships waiting to transit in both directions. There is obviously a lot of organisation required to sort out the traffic flow and arrange for pilots, etc. Thinking you can just rock up and “go for it” is like deciding you’re going turn up unannounced and land an aircraft at Heathrow.

REDteam
Reader
REDteam

dear Jack, your “the Kerch Strait is an international waterway, subject to international law of the sea” is simply NOT TRUE, sorry. Kerch&Azov have become internal waters since the 2003 bilateral agreement. dear Jack, do your homework better , pls.

Jack
Reader
Jack

Important questions: Why has Russia become the authority on who can and can’t sail through the Kerch Strait into and out of the Azov Sea? Is it because they have built a bridge across the strait? Why does that give them the right to seize vessels they consider to be not compliant, and imprison their sailors? What is the relevance of these boats having their guns ‘uncovered’? I say ‘boats’, because these are not deep-draught ships. Ukraine does have a deep-draught harbour on the coast of the Azov Sea, but these were rather puny gunboats (i.e. the kind of boats… Read more »

D
Reader
D

You mentioned piracy. Well, again you’ve done your homework bad, check what has happened already more times in that area: Ukrainian navy seizing Russian non military vessels. And not just once

Antonym
Reader
Antonym

The Strait of Kerch is 2.5 miles at its narrowest and leads only to half of one other nation besides Russia: Ukraine. It is so shallow that the Kerch–Yenikale Canal was dredged inside it, where pilot assistance is mandatory. Nothing like the English Chanel. International waters: what about Russian territorial waters?

B.t.w.: the last nations who should preach international law are the US, UK and France. Look no further than their uninvited presence today on Syrian soil. Plenty of other examples at hand. Remember the Suez-“crisis” for example?

Hmph
Reader
Hmph

Sounds like Jack is short one beanstalk there.

Read my keyboard, Jacko…It was a transparent p.r.o.v.o.c.a.t.i.o.n. Capisce?

Aesop
Reader
Aesop

Yes another fine example of that old adage: “You can lead a Jackass to water but he’ll still blow farts in your face.” He might even call it ‘Eau de Veritas’ but that’s another story.

Malatok
Reader
Malatok

Neither history nor geography would appear to be your strong points. I suggest you read up on both concerning the two “Russian lakes” under discussion.

David William Pear
Reader
David William Pear

Don’t believe that the US is withdrawing from Syria. Two options or more. One, they are being redeployed to move out of the way of Nato partner Turkey, which announced it is going to invade Syria east of Euphrates river to “mop up” Kurdish “terrorists”. US does not want a confrontation with Turkey. Two, US is in Syria illegally. They are simply going from overt to covert. Conclusion, the US never gives up on regime change once a victim is on the enemies list. US will be there forever unless the American people finally rebel against all US foreign bases,… Read more »

Regula
Reader
Regula

If this is true that the US decreed a law pursuant to which sabotaging and disrupting pipelines of a hostile nation is legal then the US quite literally declared terrorism legal. Pretty scary indeed.

Citizen
Reader
Citizen

I think the claim in this article is false. I can’t find a credible source for the statement “The US passed a bill in 2017 legalising attempts to undermine or sabotage ‘export pipelines'”. The wikipedia article they linked to certainly doesn’t say it. Is Off-Guardian going down the Guardian’s dead-end path of distorting facts to fit a narrative?

Hmph
Reader
Hmph

Gee, it’s right there in black and white. Undermine or sabotage (via sanctions). Whether they blow it up or stab their accountants in the back, it’s still sabotage. Maybe English isn’t your first language?

PS: “In mid-June 2017, Germany and Austria issued a joint statement that said the proposed bill heralded a “new and very negative quality in European-American relations” and that certain provisions affecting gas pipeline projects with Russia were an illegal threat to EU energy security.”

Citizen
Reader
Citizen

That’s some Guardian-level spin, Hmph. Putting government sanctions on something is *not* the same as what people think you mean when you say “legalize attempts to undermine or sabotage”.

Hmph
Reader
Hmph

Ahem…you don’t know when to quite, do you?

undermine verb

lessen the effectiveness, power, or ability of, especially gradually or insidiously.
“this could undermine years of hard work”

synonyms: subvert, sabotage, threaten, weaken, compromise, diminish, reduce, impair, mar, spoil, ruin, impede, hinder, damage, hurt, injure, cripple, disable, enfeeble, sap, shake

What is a sanction, other than an allegedly legal means to punish, hurt, injure, cripple an allegedly illegal action of the sanctioned party.

Malatok
Reader
Malatok

Terrori$m is USSA’S most favored weapon. A cursory perusal of USSA’S 2 centuries of genocide for profit should make that patently clear to even the most hubris bloated fan of the terror entity out there.

Conall
Reader

This article in the Guardian, and the censoring of any comments shows that is now a sad remnant of a once great newspapers. No, Comment is no longer free.

Malatok
Reader
Malatok

The legacy rags of the in-bred, gone-to-seed gentry are still fit for bird cage droppings but surely there are cheaper alternatives and what if parrots could read as freely as some of them seem to speak?

Brian Living
Reader
Brian Living

1. Is the re-opening of the “conflict” in Ukraine a response to the complete defeat of NATO’s agenda in Syria? US Switching to Ukraine as Location to Start World War III Against Russia. 02-10-2018
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/10/02/us-switching-ukraine-location-start-world-war-iii-against-russia.html

Jim Scott
Reader
Jim Scott

I posted the following comments on the Guardian and it magically disappeared without any notice of being offensive, I simply disagreed without any rudeness that Europe should get tough with Russia.. I did however post links showing Victoria Nuland organising the coup and ruling who should be the new leader in democratic Ukraine – Hasn’t Europe/NATO/USA already caused enough trouble in Ukraine. The violent coup instigated by Victoria Nuland using armed Fascist to violently bring down the elected Government, a short time before an election was due is the principle cause of Ukraine’s problems. Certainly Yanukovych had been hopeless but… Read more »

Hmph
Reader
Hmph

Isn’t The Guardian run by those good folks at Integrity Initiative now? You know somebody has to be our watchdog, even when they moonlight as howling hyenas.

David William Pear
Reader
David William Pear

“Victoria Nuland organising the coup”…no wonder you comment went down the memory hole, you can’t put stuff like that on the Guardian.

Library of Congress
Reader
Library of Congress

That’s right. Nuland organizing a coup? How ridiculous, an obligatory red-tag for immediate fake news deletion. Hubby Kagan organized it and she was just the girl scout cookie girl. She did exercise full spectrum dominance over the cookie platters though. I think she instructed Tyahnybok in how to hold up that teetering old doddard on the podium too, that’s how he inadvertently showed up behind Sen. Doddard in all those photoshoots. PS: I heard Nuland say once that she thought Tyahnybok was just an usher and not one of the co-founders of the leading neo-nazi party in Ukraine, along with… Read more »

Haltonbrat
Reader
Haltonbrat

The elephant in the room is Israel. In fact they would not allow Corbyn to become PM.

Antonym
Reader
Antonym

A mouse (< 7 millions Israeli Jews) pretending to be an Elephant. Do you still believe in Santa? Do you believe everything you read?

vexarb
Reader

Haltonbrat, what makes you think Corbyn is not anti-Russia and anti-Syria? I have seen his statements to that effect posted in Off-G BTL.

ragheadthefiendlyterrorist
Reader

The NATOstanis are hedging their bets with Porky. His incompetence is so glaring that they can’t possibly ignore it in the long term. Nor can they hide the fact that even the other Banderastani parties, inclusive of the Nazis, are united in saying that Porky instigated the Kerch provocation to sabotage the March election. If he loses it, he’s going to either have to do a Saakashvili and run for his life abroad (assuming anyone could be found to shelter him) or else go to jail because his partners in crime turned rivals are as vindictive as he is. For… Read more »

An Aspiring Journalist
Reader
An Aspiring Journalist

Newsweek has a microphone permanently attached to Porkshanks’ shank and once a week, when he yet again proclaims “Russia is poised to invade Ukraine over blah, blah, blah”, it hits Newsweek’s presses faster than a speeding mortar round.

I’m pretty sure his last blah blah was the Kerch Strait but it might have been Bandera’s birthday, the founding of OUN, the anniversary of some visiting Nazi dignitary or some patriotic pogrom or other, while all true Ukrainian patriots are kneeling and distracted in deep prayer.

isabellainecuador
Reader

Today in an interview, Lavrov promised that Russia was not going to go to war with Ukraine, end of story.

Malatok
Reader
Malatok

Yes, and he also explained that Mother Russia wants ALL her Ukrop miscreants back in the warm embrace of Mr. Bear (perhaps with the exception of NAZI Galicia) and not just the decent folk of Novorossiya. Imagine the Natostan cancer spreading all the way to Donbas and Donetsk and the inevitable Anglozionazi terror that would ensue using their trained Ukrop apes as they are using their I$I$ human organ eaters to terrorize Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Libya etc etc. Ukroppers very own I$I$ human liver eating friends https://www.rt.com/news/447447-ukraine-chechen-battalion-isis/ Meanwhile “Airstrip One” has more than enough of its own sickness to… Read more »

Marilyn Goodman
Reader
Marilyn Goodman

Brilliant article loved it thank you.

John A
Reader
John A

Clearly, the premoderators were as one eyed as the article. Theyd probably also have given the heads up to GCHQ to alert their army of trolls to agree with the article.
Incidentally, as ships have to pass through in orderly fashion, there is a queuing system. There were apparently already 160 ships in the queue to pass through the straits, so if nothing else the Ukrainian bandits were blatantly q jumping, no mention of that the MSM either.

DavidKNZ
Reader
DavidKNZ

Valentin Vasilescu at http://www.voltairenet.org notes that 3 types of EL-INT
SIG-INT planes were flying high above Kersh Strait at the time of the Ukranian
incursion. Their purpose was to capture E-details of Russian modus operandi..
As such, following in the line of U2 surveillance, the Boeing shootdown near
N Korea and the continued SR51 overflights. Handy information for war planning

Fair dinkum
Reader
Fair dinkum

Boys with toys.
Deadly toys.

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

here’s some words of encouragement from your founder:

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

sexist pig.

remind me who the prime ministers of Britain and Germany are?

take your identity politics sh** back to the Guardian, they specialize in that kind of divide-and-rule, disinfo garbage.

Francis Lee
Reader
Francis Lee

Blowing up the Kerch bridge, or a section of it, would constitute a direct military attack on Russian territory. In this case Russia will have to respond forcefully. NATO know this as does its Ukrainian proxies. Ukraine is not a member of NATO so Article 5 cannot be invoked. This could be the big one, a provocation too far, or it could be the AZ-Empire testing Russia’s nerve. After all there have been rumours of a Ukrainian offensive since 2015 which have never materialised. The problem for Poroshenko and the UAF is that they face certain defeat. How would that… Read more »

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

I wonder what the western and american media would say if Russia advocated the blowing up of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or if Russian warships started swanning around in Chesapeake Bay?

or even the English Channel…

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3858514/Russia-s-attack-fleet-closes-Dover-Putin-s-warships-prepare-enter-English-Channel-TODAY-way-launch-strikes-Syria.html

Derek_J
Reader
Derek_J

Eduard Basurin the head of the DPR militia has said they have intelligence reports that Ukraine intends to launch an invasion iminently using the pretext of a false flag drone bombing of a chemical works in Mariupol.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTjCkyTczXk (enable subtitles)

I hope he is wrong.

Mystery Solved
Reader
Mystery Solved

How could that trigger anything? They could just say, sorry….it must have been one of those early US drone prototypes that they used to bomb Serbian chlorine plants. It had a solar-charged battery and just kept flying around for 19 years. Just as believable as any other hooey coming out of what passes for ‘western civilization’ these days.

Maggie
Reader
Maggie

On the 14th December….. 10th December 2019 DONETSK, Novorusiya – The People’s Militia of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk (DPR) reported on the concentration of more than 12,000 Ukrainian security forces and 90 units of military equipment in the south of the Donetsk region. According to the information, in the opinion of the leadership of the RPD, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will start the attack on December 14. Evidence was obtained on the preparation of an offensive in the region of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol by the Ukrainian military, according to the deputy commander of the RPD… Read more »

Paul Carline
Reader
Paul Carline

1. No doubt related. The US/UK/EU/Israel attempt to overthrow Assad has backfired – but the US is still occupying part of Syria and clearly has no intention of leaving. Trying to force it out militarily would be seen by the US and its complicit allies as a casus belli. 2. I guess because they can control it better that way – also because it is a major source of income for Ukraine and some of the EU members are probably tired of throwing yet more money into Ukraine’s empty hole. 3. Ukraine certainly – and presumably the Atlanticist cabal, which… Read more »

Jo
Reader
Jo

A double game from the west via Germany continuing…foreign minister says no new sanctions but Merkel even tough President Putin had drawn a map at G20….BERLIN, December 12. /TASS/. Germany will speak at the EU summit in favor of extending sanctions against Russia, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the parliament, the Bundestag, on Wednesday.
“We will call a spade a spade. We will call for extending sanctions,” Merkel said, voicing concerns over Russia’s steps. “We do not accept actual claims [of Russia] regarding the Sea of Azov,” the Chancellor said.

More:
http://tass.com/economy/1035674

Coram Deo
Reader
Coram Deo

A CROOKED MANOEUVRE IN THE KERCH STRAIT by Professor Arthur Noble On 25 November 2018 Ukraine‟s tin-pot tyrant Petro Poroshenko sent a trio of ships from his puny flotilla to breach Russian territorial waters in the Kerch Strait and confront the mighty Russian Navy in the Azov Sea, thus violating Articles 19 and 21 of the United Nations Convention of Sea Law and resorting, in the words of Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, to “bandit methods”.1 The captain of the main vesser openly admitted that he had consciously ignored Russian warnings to retreat. What the mainstream media has not… Read more »