Russia Falsely Blamed for Ukraine Black Sea Provocation

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Russia Falsely Blamed for Ukraine Black Sea Provocation

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Longstanding US-led Western and Israeli policies repeatedly and consistently blame victims for aggression and other wrongdoing committed against them.

Kiev’s Sunday Black Sea provocation breached Articles 19 and 21 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Article 19 states that passage is “innocent” as long as not contrary to peace, good order, or security of coastal areas. Otherwise it’s “prejudicial” – defining Kiev’s unacceptable Sunday provocation.

The right of innocent passage applies only to foreign vessels, not aircraft, other than when exercising the “right of assistance entry” – related to the long-recognized obligation of nations to render assistance in cases of danger or distress at sea.

Innocent passage applies to straits used for international navigation, in accordance with UNCLOS provisions, even in situations of armed conflict.

Article 21 requires foreign vessels exercising the right of innocent passage through the territorial waters of another country to comply with “all generally accepted international regulations” pertaining to sovereign territory and maritime safety.

Navigating through territorial waters of another nation requires permission from its ruling authorities. Otherwise it’s unlawful, the way Ukraine clearly acted on Sunday.

Its vessels provocatively and illegally entered Russian waters without permission. Dangerous maneuvers conducted made the offense more egregious.

So did escalating regional tensions. Russia’s OSCE envoy Alexander Lukashevich called Kiev’s provocation a new way to get the Trump regime to impose more harsh sanctions on Moscow.

US-installed NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg regurgitates what Washington demands he say, turning truth on its head saying:

“There is no justification for the use of military force against Ukrainian ships and naval personnel. So we call on Russia to release immediately the Ukrainian sailors and ships it ceased yesterday.”

Nikki Haley defended the indefensible, her consistent way of operating, supporting Kiev’s provocation instead of condemning it, saying:

“I make the statement on behalf of the United States, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. We stand united in opposing Russia’s attack (sic),” adding:

“We strongly support Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders extending to its territorial waters. We express our deep concern over the incident which represents a dangerous escalation and violation of international law.”

Ukraine’s UN envoy Volodymyr Yelchenko called on Security Council members to adopt sanctions on Russia, saying: “This is the only way. Russia doesn’t understand any other language, unfortunately.”

First Deputy Russian UN envoy Dmitry Polyanskiy justifiably said Kiev’s Black Sea provocation was approved by the West – perhaps planned and orchestrated by Trump and Theresa May regime hardliners.

On Monday, the US, Britain and France pressured four other Security Council members to reject Russia’s call for an emergency session on Ukraine’s Black Sea provocation. The vote was as follows:

Countries against the session included the US, UK, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Peru, and Poland. Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Bolivia supported it. Four other countries abstained.

The issue will still be discussed, Polyanskiy saying “(n)obody can prevent Russia as a permanent member of the Security Council to raise the issues that we deem important under the agenda they relate to.”

A Russian Foreign Ministry statement said “(o)n November 26, (it) summoned Ukrainian charge d’affaires ad interim in Moscow, Ruslan Nimchinsky, to voice a strong protest in connection with the gross violation by the ships of the Ukrainian navy of the rules of peaceful passage in the territorial waters of ​​the Russian Federation in the Black Sea on November 25, 2018.”

The statement fell on deaf ears in Kiev, Washington, London, other Western capitals and media supporting their lawless actions.

Separately, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said “the whole responsibility for the possible negative development of the conflict situation in the Azov Sea-Black Sea region lies entirely on the Ukrainian side.”

Three Ukrainian vessels and their 24 crew members were seized and detained on Sunday. 

Hopefully Moscow will play hardball with Kiev, demanding release of unlawfully held Russian nationals by the Kiev regime – retaining control over its vessels and seamen until they’re freed.

Martial law is effective for 30 days, begun on November 26 through late December – perhaps to be extended into the new year.

In response to Kiev’s clear unacceptable provocation, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia “acted in strict accordance with the law, both international law and domestic law,” adding:

Kiev’s provocation “was an invasion of foreign warships into the territorial waters of the Russian Federation.”

Kiev vessels unlawfully “entered the territorial waters of Russia, not responding to any requests of our border guards. They did not respond to the offer to use piloting services, etc. So all actions were taken in strict accordance with legislation.”

Unacceptable criticism of Russia following Sunday’s incident will likely continue.

It remains to be seen how Trump regime hardliners and their imperial partners respond to what happened.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.