The recent Kerch Strait incident marks a new low amid the US-led expansion of NATO eastward.
The intentional provocation executed by Kiev saw three Ukrainian naval vessels seized by Russia. The vessels were intentionally violating protocol for passing through the Strait – protocol previously agreed upon by Kiev and previously observed by Ukrainian naval vessels.
The extent to which Ukraine was aware of these protocols and the 2003 agreement that put them in place includes entire events organized in Ukraine by NATO-sponsored “think tanks” discussing the necessity to “rip them up” and attempt to assert greater control over the current joint-use of the Sea of Azov.
In the wake of this incident – predictable calls are being made to use it as a pretext to expand NATO even further east, with senior American Foreign Policy Council fellow and former professor at the US Army War College Stephen Blank declaring the need for the US to “lease” Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, patrol the sea with US warships, all while committing to the “full-fledged” arming of Ukrainian forces.
Blank’s commentary – published in The Hill in a piece titled, “Russia’s attack on Ukraine is an act of war,” predicates an anti-Russian narrative and NATO’s eastward expansion into Ukraine upon a number of blatant falsehoods.
He mentions Russia’s “seizure” of Crimea, its “claiming that Crimea, the Sea of Azov, and the Kerch Strait are exclusively Russian waters,” and the building of the Crimean Bridge which Blank claims is impeding Ukrainian commerce in the Sea of Azov – all as Russian provocations.
However, Blank conveniently omits the US-NATO backed putsch that seized power in Ukraine in 2013 – setting off Ukrainian-Russian tensions in the first place. Nowhere in Blank’s commentary does he mention the prominent role paramilitary Neo-Nazi organizations have played in both overthrowing the elected government in 2013 and militancy carried out against Russian businesses, institutions, and even Ukrainians of Russian decedent – particularly in Donbass, eastern Ukraine.
Blank would even feign ignorance over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s motives in repatriating Crimea and taking measures against a now fully hostile Ukraine sitting on Russia’s borders.