The Murky Sea of Azov 617

Prima facie, it is Russia which is acting illegally in the Kerch Strait. As I wrote when it was the Russians who were being harassed in the English Channel:

Contrary to Article 44 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which the UK and Russia are both party, the UK has engaged in extensive illegal harassment of a Russian naval submarine engaged in fully lawful transit of the Dover Strait.

A Russian naval vessel en route between the Baltic and Black Seas is fully and specifically entitled under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea Articles 37 and 38 to the right of passage through the strait. This is in addition to the general right of passage through the territorial sea at Article 17. The Russian navy was in full compliance with the provision at Article 20 that, while in territorial waters, the submarine must be on the surface and displaying its flag, and in compliance with Articles 29 to 32 on warships.

Not only does the Russian Navy have every right to sail through the Dover strait on passage, it has been exercising that right – along with many other navies – for over a hundred years. The decision of the British government now to employ military harassment and threat is not only illegal, it is a gross and entirely deliberate act of provocation designed to sour international relations and disturb the atmosphere of world peace.

The author of this article, Craig Murray is a former Head of the Maritime Section of the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and former Alternate Head of the United Kingdom Delegation to the United Nations Preparatory Commission on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. He is a retired British Ambassador.

Russia is very definitely acting illegally in putting military personnel of another state on television to make statements, whether coerced or not (personally I found them precisely as believable – no more and no less – as Yulia Skripal’s strained statement to British TV).

Please note that Ukrainian ships have the right of innocent passage through the Kerch Strait irrespective of whether the Crimean side is viewed as Ukrainian or Russian. The coastal state does have the right to make arrangements for maritime safety which may include designating sea lanes and a notification regime akin to air traffic control. If Ukraine violated these provisions, (which seems probable), Russia had a right to take enforcement action. But that enforcement action specifically does not extend to substantive detention of vessels and crew.

The situation changes if Russia genuinely has evidence that the military vessels were engaged in a military attack. But it only changes, and the civilian rules only cease to apply, if one side or the other acknowledges that a state of war now exits. Ukraine came close to this
by demanding that its servicemen be treated as prisoners of war. There is no option to treat uniformed military personnel of another state as terrorists. But if Russia does not acknowledge a state of war, it has to let them go. Russia is certainly not entitled to impose a wider blockade of the strait to shipping to or from Ukraine – any more than Israel is entitled to blockade Gaza.

Given that Russia appears on the face of it to be very much in the wrong, the western powers have been remarkably quiet. I suspect this indicates knowledge that Poroshenko was indeed engaged in some sort of stupid stunt. In which case the Russians have played into his hands by a disproportionate reaction. Poroshenko’s own action in declaring martial law is of course also wildly disproportionate. My sense is that we have here two Presidents each with slipping popularity ratings, deliberately escalating a crisis as it suits each domestically. Such playing with fire is wildly irresponsible, far too many people have died in Ukraine already.

I expect the usual howls of protest from people for whom the application of impartial international law is anathema, who believe you must be on the side of the “goodies” against the “baddies”. I am aware that rationality and impartiality are not much valued in political discourse nowadays. I shall however stick to them with stoic resolve.

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617 thoughts on “The Murky Sea of Azov

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  • Titch

    “I expect the usual howls of protest from people for whom the application of impartial international law is anathema, who believe you must be on the side of the “goodies” against the “baddies”. I am aware that rationality and impartiality are not much valued in political discourse nowadays. I shall however stick to them with stoic resolve.”

    Craig is a man of integrity. Most people go with “my country/ my side, right or wrong”, but Craig has been consistent in representing the truth as he sees it, after careful analysis. This doesn’t guarantee that he will be infallibly correct every time, but it does mean we can trust his integrity.

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      After all this, we are still stuck with Craig’s erroneous, blind claims about annexation!

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Titch December 1, 2018 at 11:38
      If one lives in the US, UK, France or I*rael and you are aware of history and present machinations, the best attitude is ‘My country, always wrong’!

  • Sharp Ears

    13 more Palestinians were injured in the border protest in Gaza yesterday, most probably by dum dum bullets (illegal under international law). They expand on impact and cause horrific injuries to flesh, bone and joints often resulting in amputation of the limbs.
    ‘Thirteen people Palestinians were injured, the Ministry of Health reported, and dozens more suffered from suffocation as a result of Israel’s use of tear gas to break up the protests.’

    ‘More than 200 Palestinians have been killed while taking part in the mass peaceful protests, while 21,500 have been injured.’

    I also read about this act of the Israeli planning authorities who have given permission for 2,300 houses to be built for ultra-orthodox Israelis in Deir Yassin. That is the Palestinian village which was razed in al Naqba in 1948 and the remains of which now lie under the coniferous National Forest.

    Israel to build 2,300 ultra-Orthodox houses on site of Deir Yassin massacre
    November 29, 2018

    The coup de grâce. Despicable.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    And in the wake of GHW Bush’s death, remember that his legacy lives on in the West still trying to get rid of Russia – what Pappy was deeply involved in ever since the end of WWII.

  • Ewan Maclean

    Mr. Murray,
    We have had your prima facie assessment. Now that more of the facts are available, your considered opinion would be of interest.

    • Steve Steglitz

      I agree with Ewan. Quality evidence presented by commenters here prove beyond doubt that the passage of the 3 Ukrainian warships laden with weapons and explosives through the Kerch Strait was anything but innocent (Article 23).

      Indeed, as if it could be innocent, considering the wider geopolitics behind this and US/UK drive to destroy and dominate Russia.

      Has Craig now revised his views? I really hope so.

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      I’m not a Russian supporter. I just support fairness and truth when it comes to international politics – what the West has never done with Russia since the fall of the Tsars.

      • Paul Damascene

        Laudibly, THF’s support is for fairness and truth, rather than for any sentimental (or sinister) attachment to Russia. My particular attachment is to a world in which the West is not attempting to provoke Russia into a war the neocons actually think we might be better off fighting, even losing, rather than see their brief hour of hegemony run out without having exhausted every opportunity to reset the board — that the threat or application of apocalyptic violence might still accomplish.

      • Captain Bluntschli

        Nope, just self-loathers also ignorant about the content of daily life in Russia. Suggest you find yourself some pen-friends there. Or just jump into the freezer like the rest of the cubes.

    • Steve Steglitz

      The reason is Mary, Russia is supporting the people of the West far better than our governments are. The service of the latter is to the banks. corporations and NGOs, NOT the people. Putin serves the Russian people and the secondary beneficiaries are the countries Russia trades with. That’s not us in the West, as became clear following the US-orchestrated Maidan riots of 2014.

      Putin’s first choice for partner countries was the EU and the US. The hostility of the latter to any friendship with Russia is rooted in western central banks’ drive to control Russia. This would have robbed her and left her in poverty, much as the people of the West are being robbed by same people. If we bought Russian gas instead of LNG from America the cost would be half. Think of how many old British people that would save in winter. Who benefits from this? Western banks and corporations.

      I am British and fully support Russia. And I support Russia because I support the British people.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        You are leaving out the moronic Anglo-American leaders who plotted constantly against sensible domesticc opponents who even conspired to get rid of them at Soviet expense, like JFK, Anthony Crossland, and Olof Palme.

    • Tom Welsh

      Two little words, MaryPau!: “Crimean War”.

      The British and the French, with no adequate pretext, viciously attacked Russia, invaded Crimea, and killed 450,000 Russians. Moreover, the British and French were allied with the Turks – against whom Russia had been trying to secure the rights and lives of Christians in the Ottoman Empire.

      More Russians died in the Crimean War than on either side in the American Civil War. More than total British military losses in WW2.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        According to my book about former Lord Chancellor Brougham, as I recall, he favored attacking Russia to make sure that imperial France didn’t attack Britain, and spike Pam’s guns.

    • Ralph

      You confuse support for Russia with support for what is right & true, regardless of which country (or person, i.e. Putin) is ‘supported’.
      Clearly also, you are ignorant of what is going on against Russia by the warmongering West, about the Western coup/’color revolution’ in kiev, about PNAC & ‘Rebuilding America’s Offenses (Defenses)’ which requires enemies in order to inflate the Pentagram’s budget for the Offense contractors.

  • Sharp Ears

    Here is the link to Galloway’s programme being shown today.

    The death of Dr. Kelly and the origin of war crimes (E256)
    Published time: 1 Dec, 2018
    The strange death of Dr. David Kelly, the British scientist and Iraq arms inspector, in the summer of 2003 continues to intrigue the British public not least because much of the evidence relating to his death has been locked up in the National Archives for 70 years. ‘The Strange Death of David Kelly’ by the then Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, later a minister in the coalition government, is the starting point for anyone wishing to understand the swirl of secrecy and intrigue which surrounded Doctor Kelly’s death. Norman Baker, who is a singer and songwriter now, was a successful minister as well as an author. Today he is also a respected political commentator. So, we invited him into the studio to help us unravel the mystery.

    The clichés ‘History is written by the victors’ and ‘Treason doth never prosper, for if it prosper, none dare call it treason’ are well-known and probably are clichés because they’re true; war crimes too can be defined by victors and their origins can be traced back to the First World War. In his new book “The Trial of the Kaiser” Professor William A. Schabas explores the roots of international criminal justice and how WWI shaped and defined war crimes. It also sheds light on contemporary developments in international prosecutions, such as the establishment of the International Criminal Court. So, in this centenary year of the end of WWI we invited this distinguished professor of International Law into the Sputnik studio.
    The actual URL that appears describes the previous episode. ???

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      Dr. Kelly’s murder is only murky if one doesn’t look for suspects – what Norman Baker has done in his fruitless pursuits. The killers were right on the scene as searcher Louise Holmes discovered when she was looking for the missing weapons inspector.

    • African judge

      There is a need for a pre-war crimes division at the Hague now, responsible for archiving videos of all utterances by boltons, pompeos, amanpours, urbans, maitlis’ and the like, to be used at future war crimes trials. If goebbels was under the cosh after WW2 the latter day presstitutes and neocoen chickenhawks should similarly also be made to answer for their spin in ratcheting up conflict.

      • Jack

        African Judge

        Actually that is a pretty good idea, only problem is that the people in charge cannot see any wrongdoing with their own behavior.

      • bj

        Excellent proposal.

        But there’s this little thing colloquially called ‘The Hague Invasion Act’ which stands in the way of trialing the most egregious violators.

        • Andyoldlabour


          I think that we have to keep mentioning that little obstacle, because it seems many people are not aware of it.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ bj December 1, 2018 at 19:14
          Thank God there is one ‘Court’ they can neither ignore, avoid or invade: the ‘Last Judgement’.
          Let them contemplate that – they may and all too often do live very long lives, but their immortality will be in a very unpleasant environment.

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      If that was only the worst of his efforts. Pappy was most instrumental in bringing down the Soviet bloc, the The USSR, and us all if he had only had his ways at the expence of others. And he almost got the Gypper assassinated too.

      The most overrated warmonger of the past century.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        I let the first use of “Pappy” pass as a typo. The nickname of the lifelong, global administrator under discussion was “Poppy”.

          • Sharp Ears

            GGG Grandfather Obadiah Newcomb Bush, a schoolmaster, after serving in the 1812 war.
            G G Grandfather Rev James Smith Bush, Episcopalian priest
            G Grandfather Samuel Prescott Bush Businessman and industrialist
            Grandfather Prescott Sheldon Bush Banker and politician
            Father George Herbert Walker Bush Oil millionaire by age of 40. 43rd US President
            Son George Walker Bush ……… words for him

            Two down. One to go.

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          I deliberately call him Pappy since he had 10 nicknames when I am writing about the Bushes. so no one mistakes who I am referring to. You can call him One of the World’s Leading Bastards for all I care. Administrator, my ass.

        • lysias

          Pappy O’Daniel was governor of Texas, also the only person to ever defeat Lyndon Johnson in an election.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ lysias December 1, 2018 at 19:52
            Another really evil SOB. Not only deeply complicit in the JFK assassination, one of the first things he did was to override Executive Order 11110, which was issued by U.S. President John F. Kennedy on June 4, 1963 (setting up USG printing it’s own $1 and $2 dollar notes, bypassing the Federal Reserve; he was resonsible for the Gulf of Tonkin LIE; and he cooked up with a ME partner Intel Service the subsequent attack on the USS Liberty.
            He, Bush Sr. and Ford can now compare notes, along with Reagan, Nixon, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pinochet, Franco, Salazar – blimey, be interesting to hear, but I wouldn’t want to be a fly on the wall, not where they are now!

        • Dungroanin

          Poppy as in his role as chief executive officer role in the CIA Air America set up of the worldwide heroin trade.
          Expanded it to the cocaine trade, that got the young Clintons their career breaks. Old friends. Wonder if Hills may be a bit teary, Bill certainly will.

          Anyhow, good to have a cheery change of subject, to get away from CM’s canning session!

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Dungroanin December 2, 2018 at 02:45
            He got the nickname ‘Poppy’ whilst at the Skull & Bones ‘Society’, Yale, which was set up with profits from the enforced Opium Trade in China.

    • Deb O'Nair

      GW Bush dead at 95, “the good always die young.”

      He is the only man in America that claimed not to remember where he was when JFK was shot. Odd then that he was photographed in Dealy Plaze that same afternoon, and there are official documents that state he was in Dallas on CIA business. Later in life, while giving a eulogy at Gerald Ford’s funeral, he mentions the assassination of JFK and laughs. Very odd.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Deb O’Nair December 1, 2018 at 20:18
        Gerald Ford, another really evil geezer, involved with MK-ULTRA Monarch program, and child porn and worse.
        And of course, he and Kissinger gave Suharto the ‘green light’ to go into East Timor in 1975, leading to appalling loss of life and brutal repression for the next 25 years.

  • Sharp Ears

    ‘E’s gorn. Sam Gyimah. Con MP E Surrey

    Robert Peston
    What tipped @SamGyimah over the edge to quitting was receiving emails every morning from @GavinBarwell on “lines to take” to promote @theresa_may’s Brexit plan and realising he fundamentally disagreed with it all. How many other ministers feel similarly alienated?
    5 hours

    Several posts as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State to Cameron, Nicky Morgan and Theresa May. Latterly Minister for Universities, Science, Research and \innovation. He worked for Goldman Sachs after leaving Oxford although he does not appear to be a member of the CFoI.

  • Sharp Ears

    Two days left to see a play about 7/7

    Outright Terror . . . Bold and Brilliant
    The London bombings of 7/7 2005 re-examined. There was no trial to ascertain the posthumous guilt of the four alleged bombers.
    In the light of much new evidence this wrong is put to rights in a powerful court room drama.
    Due to popular demand this is “Random Order’s” second run.
    “Interesting and challenging” Annie Machon [ex MI5 officer]
    “This play certainly holds” Billie Manning [Camden New Journal]
    “Yehtaen has done an incredible forensic job” Celine La Freniere [Camden Novelist]
    “Not to be missed” Warren Puckett [ex US Special forces officer]

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Sharp Ears,

      I would love to see that, but now got the same symptoms as my wife had. It’s not the flu, but nearly as bad. No energy for 2 weeks. We like Camden Town, and love small theatres. Hopefully, they will put the play on again. I’ve still not worked out what really happenned that day, but did experience The Ripple Effect, Live. It was a nice sunny morning, and suddenly the birds went crazy – even over 12 miles away. They heard the explosions and panicked. They detected the evil and it spread. I knew something had happenned but didn’t know what. I turned on the radio, and became extremely worried. I thought my wife could have been there, and couldn’t phone her, cos they had turned all mobile communications off.


      • Sharp Ears

        ony I will let you know if I hear of it coming up.

        The mortuary tent set up in advance that day was a very telling feature of the FF.

        Get well soon and get nice and warm under the duvet with some paracetamol and some hot chocolate inside you. My eldest brother is laid low also.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Sharp Ears December 1, 2018 at 22:10
          The only reason I didn’t go is I don’t like plays. I know the play is based on facts, and there is a book by the same name.
          But apart from the premature tent, another glaring ‘Smoking Gun’ was that an emergency morgue had been set up on a TA facility in London which handled ALL the dead bodies, only the day BEFORE the incidents. How convenient!
          Then there was the Panorama TV program involving Portillo a year before the incidents:
          ‘BBC Panorama: London Under Attack (the show that predicted */*)’:

          A very good resource for all things to do with the ‘incidents’ is ‘J7: The July 7th Truth Campaign’:

      • Andyoldlabour


        I remember that I was working near Lincolns Inn Fields that day, and got in early, so that when the news broke there was only the IT guy and myself in the office. We heard the first news which said that there had been an explosion caused by an electrical fault, and we just looked at each other. I thkink they closed the office down at 2PM that day, and it was very subdued on the train back from Blackfriars.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Andyoldlabour December 2, 2018 at 13:53
          I was working as a mini-cab driver on that day, and had picked up two or three railwaymen (the firm had a contract in our area with the railway) from a hotel in Chigwell in Essex, and was taking them to Kings Cross, when they got a phone call about a ‘power surge’. As we continued, this was information updated to a terror attack, and I had to drop them off some distance from Kings Cross Station due to traffic problems.
          On the day of the London Bridge ‘incidents’, I had returned by coach from Margate, got off at Lewisham, and as fate would have it, picked up the wrong case from the coach. I did not notice it till I was on the Docklands Light Railway, when I opened the case to get a sandwich. I went straight to my local for a quick one before closing time, and borrowed the Governor’s mobile to call the Coach Station to report my mistake re the case. I had planned to take it to the Coach Station (Victoria) the next morning, but again, as fate would have it, the woman whose case I had mistakenly taken was waiting at Victoria, and needed her case that night, as she was on the way to Heathrow to catch a plane early the next morning. So I had to leave my unfinished pint, and hightail it to the Underground, five minutes away, at Tower Hill. When I got there, it was closed, due to the just-occurred ‘events’ at London Bridge/Borough Market. Buses were also not running on the 15 route.
          I walked almost to Aldgate, and flagged down a black cab. I asked how much to Victoria Coach, and he said £20, so I hopped in. He had to make all sorts of diversions, and when we got to Victoria the clock read over £30, so I handed him £40 but he handed me back £20; decent guy.
          I returned the case to the upset woman, who thanked me profusely, and I retrieved my case.
          I returned by Night bus, but only got about 1/3 or a 1/2 the way back, before that stopped as well, so it was Shanks’s pony from then on. I got home about 01.30 – 02.00.
          I was in East Jerusalem and Aqaba three months before the Six-Day War, in 1967.
          I just have seem to have a habit of often being where something major happens, or is about to happen.
          (And no, I wasn’t guilty of any of the events!)

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Sharp Ears December 1, 2018 at 17:44
      Correction: the book is not called ‘Outright Terror . . . Bold and Brilliant’, as I said, but ‘Terror on the Tube’.

  • Republicofscotland

    Sacré Bleu!

    If only the British had the balls that the French have, when standing up against unjust government policies.

    You’ve got to admire their gallic resolve to get out there and fight for what they see as injustices forced upon them by Macron.

    Meanwhile in Blighty the Tories do what they will, and people meekly gripe about it.

    • Nick

      Ros, interesting use of the word “British” on this blog. I suspect you think the Scottish have the balls the French do. Mais oui. So do you mean English? If they had the couilles how would they be labelled?

      • Republicofscotland

        ” I suspect you think the Scottish have the balls the French do.”

        Not at all, we could all learn a thing or two from the way the French demonstrate. Scots included.

          • Republicofscotland

            Theyre not nationalist in any way, looking at the French they’re standing up for what they see as injustices higher fuel costs, tough new labour laws, and a mismanagement of the economy in general.

            These things aren’t nationalist as you put it, but universal in nature.

    • Deb O'Nair

      The same occurred a few years ago when the retirement age was increased, the Brits just shrugged their shoulders. When it was suggested the French should do the same they hit the streets in mass protest.

      • Molloy



        For me, not at all nationalistic. The elephant in the closet.

        Warmongering, British. Donkey-like; greedy; venal and corrupt leaders all lower than the low.

        Sadly, for many, a feeling of nausea and disgust at being labelled as “British”.

        So, once again, a big and ironic thank you and show of gratitude to class mindlessness and privileged R’sery and incompetence.
        Class and pointlessness the traison d’etre

        • Molloy


          Apologies (bugger the editing facility as they say on here!!). . . . .

          National/British in fact pejorative words to conceal establishment disregard for those less fortunate.
          Class pointlessness the trahison d’etre of the (mainly) English subtly neo-Na$$zi so-called ‘elite’.

  • copydude

    Craig wrote:
    ‘. I suspect this indicates knowledge that Poroshenko was indeed engaged in some sort of stupid stunt. In which case the Russians have played into his hands by a disproportionate reaction. Poroshenko’s own action in declaring martial law is of course also wildly disproportionate.’

    Having read the comments here. I don’t see much wrong with this conclusion. Pretty much everything else is a pot kettle argument. It’s certainly interesting that even the nationalist Ukrainian media suspects the same and the ‘wildly disproportionate’ response by Poroshenko is causing quite some panic in Ukraine.

    ‘Why now?’ they mostly ask of martial law, given that the introduction was rejected during far graver situations such as Ilovaisk and Debaltseve. The social and economic consequences can be considerable, spiking everything from exchange rates to migration.

    There are elections of course. Already Poroshenko has put sanctions against free speech for the 112 TV channel. Martial law, we note, is introduced in just 10 of the 25 regions . . . those with a high percentage of russophones. Under martial law, political parties can be banned and constitutional rights suspended. And traditionally, the East of the country votes against Kiev.

    But time is also running out for Poroshenko’s paymasters. 2019 was always crunchtime for the energy situation. Russia has finished Blue Stream to Turkey, Turk Stream – gas for resale – is almost ready, which will make Turkey the largest gas hub in Europe. Not surprisingly, this latest Azov ‘act of aggression’ has spawned a slew of articles calling for delay in the implementation of Nord Stream 2, which has pitched Germany against the US. But delay or no, Ukraine has lost its transit revenue forever, once a fifth of the national economy.

    Global energy wars aside, there appears to be some local energy crises too, with schools closed and gas shortages . . . and it’s only the start of winter. Plus the IMF is demanding a 40% hike in tariffs. Another great start to election year. I very much doubt that this is the only provocation we will see.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ copydude December 1, 2018 at 18:19
      At least Poroshenko & Co. didn’t bring down the Klovski Descent 7A, and blame the Russkis….

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile Macron, who doesn’t have his worries to seek domestically, is well worried.

    Here he has an exchange with Saudi Arabia’s MBS.

    “In the audio, it is possible to make out the prince saying “Don’t worry,” to which Macron responds “I am worried.” Later in the one-minute clip Macron says: “You never listen to me” and the crown prince replies: “I will listen, of course.” At the end Macron can be heard saying: “I am a man of my word.”

  • Republicofscotland

    Well as Bush senior enters the gates of hell, acolytes in the press try to woo us over as to what a great man he was.

    Bush was at one time head of the CIA, a noble trait for a POTUS, in some quarters however Putin’s association with the KGB, comes across as a man who can never be trusted.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Republicofscotland December 1, 2018 at 19:03
      Bush Sr. also had an extremely ‘Dark’ ‘personal’ side as well, relating to the MK-ULTRA ‘Monarch’ program.
      Do a bit of ‘research’, and be shocked.
      Anyhow, he will ‘Lie in State’, according to MSM reports.
      Blimey, as though he didn’t tell enough lies while he was alive, he continues in death.
      But lies end abruptly on the Day of Judgement. His spirit knows it’s fate.

  • jjc

    Craig is fully correct, if in a limited technical way, and it is in no one’s interest to disavow the letter of international law. That said, it is clear a state of hybrid War has been in effect between Russia and Ukraine since the USA, UK, and Canada declared the illegal and unconstitutional formation in Ukraine’s parliament late February 2014 to be somehow “legitimate”. In context, Russia’s so-called “sea attack” on the Ukrainian boats is a minor incident within a much larger pool of violations of law, not least of which is the continued use of large munitions against residential areas in Donetsk and Lugansk. Focusing on the unlawful nature of the Kerch Strait incident, without placing it within the larger context of the completely unnecessary almost five-year hybrid war, serves the interests of instigators of this conflict in the informational aspects of this war. The recognition of the unconstitutional putsch was a crime against the peace of the region, and was therefore the most serious breach of international law in this instance.

  • Igor M.

    Craig, you’re completely overlooking Art 39(1). According to the official version of the Russians, the UKR vessels first stated they had no intention of crossing the Straight, and were “messing around” for about 14 hrs and they were only detained after the UKR vessels removed covers from boat guns. When they turned toward the straight and declared that they wanted to proceed through the Straight, they were informed what the procedure was that they had to follow (notify the port of Kerch in advance (so as to be queued in with other traffic). UKR military did not do so. Nonetheless the vessels proceeded towards the Straight, given the previous threats of various gung-ho enthusiasts from UKR on UKR TV to sabotage the bridge, and patent radio silence from the UKR vessels, RUS were very constrained in their actions. Imagine if Iranian boats did same around the shores of the USA, or Argentineans around the Falklands? Incidentally, RUS had two attack choppers and two jets involved in the intercept as well, and apparently UKR sent two more mil vessels from Mariupol towards the Straight, but when they saw the choppers and the jets doing rounds around the bridge the two additional vessels stopped dead in Azov of their own accord. Incidentally, the official position is that the vessels were apparently also intercepted in the territorial waters of RUS as they were at the time prior to Crimean reunification.

    As for parading UKR personnel on the TV, they did no: the videos were of FBS files that were recorded during the interrogations, the only one who was on “TV” was the 18(?) yo sailor who didn’t look like he was under any kind of duress and was not restrained in any way while next to the docked UKR vessels.

    You’re also overlooking the fact that the SBU agents that FSB recorded on those videos (why would the SBU agents be present during a mere transit of vessels from one port to another as well as a fairly hefty cache of weapons?) admitted that they knew what they were doing and that they were deliberately ignoring Coast Guard commands and keeping radio silence.

    • Molloy



      A yawning distraction. imho.
      Most sapient commentators on here simply realise that behind all the sh**e and trivia, the US$UK evil empire, usual toxicity and divisiveness.
      So simple.

      Sláinte my friend.

  • Paul Barbara

    Given the nature of the ‘incursion’ and the immediate Martial Law in Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine, this ‘misadventure’ has the hallmarks of the Great Satan, experts in ‘Regime Change’ and manipulating voter lists to get their desired outcome.
    Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised if we have another ‘False Flag’ in the near future, to get May off the hook.
    Or further ‘Revelations’ about he old Skripal’s ones.

    • Molloy



      Yes, arms dealers love all this confusion. Sick-making and vomit inducing, as we know.

      Two hours examination by diplomats, say, from China, Iran and India. And a decent ICC.
      Two hours would easily put an end to the infantile evil empire tricks.
      How it deluded itself that no-one cops on to its crim behaviour.

      ¡No pasarán!


  • Molloy


    re simple.

    Be patriotic. Hand out the white feathers. Support your local warmonger. Count your Raypetheon and Aeros$$pace dividends. Preserve essential jobs.

    (Irony alert, off screen aside there).

    Sláinte but ashamed of ‘British’ passport and British establishment greed.


  • Alex

    Deja vu: how Ukrainian border guards shot Turkish schooner

    On November 25, the boats and the tugboat of the Ukrainian Navy in some sense repeated the fate of the Turkish poachers on March 22, 2000. 18 years ago at the Cape Tarkhankut Ukrainian border patrol ships sunk one Turkish fishing vessel, and two captured. At the same time, one person was killed.
    Original post in Russian
    Dear Craig, do you think this was a “proportionate action” ?
    If not, why then “the whole civilized world” is not excited and not imposed sanctions on Ukraine.
    Sorry for the bad English, as I am Russian.

  • Wikikettle

    ” A rules based system” “International Partners” “International law” “The UN” “A Free Press” “Democracy” “Free Trade” “ICC” “Human Rights” and such like, are concepts and institutions, vainly sought by those without power, for protection and development. The elites with power and fortune of birth and geography have failed to stop the wars and chaos. Many have actually engineered this chaos. However the elites have lost control of information. Anyone can now, if bothered, find out whats going on. Armed with this information, they can take the first steps and have revolution in their own personal lives. How one behaves towards others, what one eats, what and how much one consumes, how much “entertainment” time one wastes….even debate and news watching is a form of entertainment of sorts. I am heartened by the activism and empathy of youth, armed with this information. To fight the pull of distraction and live simpler more spiritual lives, knowing how others less fortunate have to live…supporting our privilege.

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