Warmongering British Actions in the Black Sea 509

The pre-positioning of the BBC correspondent on HMS Defender shatters the pretence that the BBC is something different to a state propaganda broadcaster. It also makes plain that this propaganda exercise to provoke the Russian military was calculated and deliberate. Indeed that was confirmed by that BBC correspondent’s TV news report last night when he broadcast that the Defender’s route “had been approved at the very highest levels of the British government.”

The Prime Minister does not normally look at the precise positions of British ships. This was a deliberate act of dangerous belligerence.

The presence of a BBC correspondent is more than a political point. In fact it has important legal consequences. One thing that is plain is that the Defender cannot possible claim it was engaged in “innocent passage” through territorial waters, between Odessa and Georgia. Let me for now leave aside the fact that there is absolutely no necessity to pass within 12 miles of Cape Fiolent on such passage, and the designated sea lane (originally designated by Ukraine) stays just out of the territorial sea. Look at the definition of innocent passage in Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea:

Very plainly this was not innocent passage. It was certainly 2 (d) an act of propaganda, and equally certainly 2 (c), an exercise in collecting information on military defences. I would argue it is also 2 (a), a threat of force.

So far as I can establish, the British are not claiming they were engaged in innocent passage, which is plainly nonsense, but that they were entering territorial waters off Crimea at the invitation of the government of Ukraine, and that they regard Crimea as the territory of Ukraine and Crimean territorial waters as Ukrainian territorial waters.

I want to impress on you how mad this is. The whole point of “territorial sea” is that, legally, it is an integral part of the state and that the state’s full domestic law applies within the territorial sea. That is not the case with the much larger 200 mile exclusive economic zone or sometimes even larger continental shelf, where the coastal state’s legal jurisdiction only applies to specific marine or mineral resources rights.

Let me put it this way. If somebody is murdered on a ship within twelve nautical miles of the coast, the coastal state has jurisdiction and its law applies. If somebody is murdered on a ship more than twelve miles off the coast, the jurisdiction and law of the flag state of the ship applies, not the law of any coastal state in whose exclusive economic zone the ship is.

In international law, the twelve mile territorial sea is as much part of the state as its land. So to sail a warship into Crimean territorial seas is exactly the same act as to land a regiment of paratroops in the Crimea and declare you are doing so at the invitation of the Government of Ukraine.

There is no dispute that Russia is in de facto control of the Crimea, irrespective of British support for the government of Ukraine’s claim to the region. It is also true that Russian annexation of the Crimea was not carried out in an accordance with international law. However, it is not, in practice, likely to be reversed and the situation needs to be resolved by treaty or by the International Court of Justice. In the interim, the UK government legal position can only be that Russia is an “occupying power”. It is impossible that the UK government legal position is that Ukraine is in “effective control” of the territory.

We need to see the legal advice provided by FCO legal advisers. It is simply not the practice in international law to ignore the existence of an occupying power which is a recognised state, and act with armed forces on the authority of a government not in effective control. The difference in British attitude towards Russia as an occupying power and towards Israel is tellingly different.

The legality of the British action is, at very best, moot. In realpolitik, it is an act of brinkmanship with a nuclear power and further effort to ramp up the new Cold War with Russia, to the benefit of the military, security services and armaments companies and the disbenefit of those who need more socially useful government spending. It is further an act of jingoist populism for the neo-liberal elite to distract the masses, as the billionaires’ incredible wealth continues to boom.

NATO will shortly commence a naval exercise in the Black Sea. As not all the member states of NATO are quite as unhinged as Johnson, it is to be hoped it will refrain from this kind of extra layer of provocation. There is a large part of me that says they cannot possibly be mad enough to attempt to intervene in Ukraine with military force, or at least its threat. But then I look at Johnson and Biden, and worry. This can all go horribly wrong.


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509 thoughts on “Warmongering British Actions in the Black Sea

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  • Neil Munro

    Russia is pretty good at standing up for itself. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over this.

  • mark golding

    I have to say after increasing awareness of UK/US interchange at Northwood war room briefings I am shocked at U.S. demands to destablise Russia in an attempt to thwart the scientific and technical assistance given to the CNSA after the 22-tonne core module of Tiangong space station, was successfully launched into Low Earth orbit by a Long March 5B rocket indicating the beginning of the construction of the Chinese Space Station.

    It appears this station and Russian cooperation is a massive threat to the Western alliance and must be terminated at all cost, nuclear or otherwise.

    • DunGroanin

      Let’s not forget the Chinese Mars Rover advancing the spread of human tech through the solar system. One step at a time.

      What happened to the space dreams and jetsons of yesteryear? The MIC drank all that milkshake with their long straws. It’s the usual American Dream – promise a lot and than steal it all – they are a nation built on never giving a sucker a fair deal. Not caring they ultimately end up suckering themselves and ‘their’ country.

      Biden just did the same to the ‘progressives’ there’s one of these born every minute! Including here in the U.K.

      Life on Earth and beyond requires these bandits to be eliminated like a dangerous virus. It’s our job to do it.

      • amanfromMars

        [ Mod: Caught in spam filter 07:46, restored from spam 08:01, published 08:02 ]

        Life on Earth and beyond requires these bandits to be eliminated like a dangerous virus. It’s our job to do it. ….. DunGroanin

        Quite so, DunGroanin, and it is only natural and therefore fully to be expected and supported.

        You will have to accept though, or hubristically deny and suggest nonsensical, it is a present work in rapid stealthy progress being enthusiastically carried out by an advanced future species of IntelAIgent Being for Earth, given the all too apparent evidence in both public and private domains of a lack of necessary future intelligence and advanced applied activity available in and displayed by that and those colonising the planet currently with ways and means stuck solidly in the past.

        Be prepared to witness the presentation of more rapid stealthy progressive works in the works which unavoidably cause monumental disruption to all current traditional and past conventionally established systems/SCADA* administrations.

        * Supervisory Control Analysis Data Acquisition Systems are the Prime Earthly Default Administration Model.

  • Bob (original)

    Just when you thought you had LOST ALL respect for this woefully incompetent London government…

    • Truthseeker

      When the BBC defence correspondent appeared from the deck of the British destroyer within minutes of the incident, I thought how fortunate that he was on the ship closely followed by wondering how stupid does the UK government think the population is to believe this nonsense. Every time the Tory government is in trouble it revives the Russian threat, if the population really is that stupid the we deserve the low esteem this country is now held in.

      • Bramble

        There are indeed little Englanders out there lapping this up (and applying for a portrait of the monarch while learning the words of Williamson’s marching song), and every time they lap up yet more of it I fear we are a goose-step closer to fascism. And in time honoured fashion, it has been delivered with a democratic vote.

  • Ian Stevenson

    This is “Global Britain” stuff. Our defence forces are not strong enough to fight any conflict outside Europe other than a policing action or as part of a larger force, UN or NATO.
    In ‘taking back control’ we have committed ourselves to be a very junior partner of the USA. To engage in any military action we would need the support of the US or it wouldn’t happen. We can’t afford to fund a blue water navy, a three division army, deep pentration air force and long distance airlift, plus a nuclear program. In short to get supplies and troops to the scene of conflict we would have to rely on American air lift capacity.
    This runs the risk of being drawn into any madcap activity of the Americans. Johnson still needs a trade deal from them and it will be harder than with Trump. Hence, I suggest, the need to appear an eagre ally in the military sphere.

    • Stevie Boy

      Any fool who jumps into bed with the US regime needs to be aware of the mass of evidential facts that show the US is happy to dump their special friends in the garbage if and when it suits their agenda. If the UK starts a military conflict with the Russians the US won’t be riding in to rescue them, and, the Russians are not the Argentinians.
      This grandstanding can only lead to the death of many young service personnel.

  • Ryan

    How could this be possibly have been intended as an act of propaganda under the terms of Article 19? If Russian forces had not fired shots and dropped bombs, but had merely shadowed HMS Defender (as is the usual practice in territorial waters, disputed or not), there would have been no media reports of an incident and therefore no possibility of propaganda.

    • Jay

      Agree. It’s impossible that propaganda could have been the intent of a BBC reporter aboard a warship skirting Russian waters.

    • Derek

      If it were not intended as an act of propaganda, then why was a BBC correspondent on board?
      If Russia had not challenged HMS Defender Ukrainian media for sure would have trumpeted how feeble Russia was in the face of their Western ‘friends’.

    • SA

      Not responding to requests to leave the area was known to be a provocation and the presence of the BBC reporter to report this provocation is just so blatantly sheer propaganda. Are you telling me BBC correspondents spend their time now in navy ships cruising the world just in case?

      • Ryan

        SA – See my answer below about NATO exercises next week. I think the truth about this incident is that HMS Defender was acting normally and legally, but Russia saw an opportunity for a propaganda victory and took it. They appear to have succeeded very nicely.

        • Mighty Druken

          Perfectly normal to leave the sea lane and go into the territorial waters of a contested region with a warship. Lets bring some civilians along too!

          Book your cruise now.

          • Akos Horvath

            Not just any territorial waters, but next to the home base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Tolstoy was already fighting the Brits and the French there. He has some good novellas about his military service in Sevastopol. Well, at least the UK is not in the EU any more, thank goodness, so it’s unhinged and pathetic sabre-rattling won’t drag us into this conflict.

        • SA

          Truth is that the failed British propaganda attempt handed the Russians a major propaganda coup.

      • Yeah, Right

        A warship entering a territorial waters and then refusing to comply with the laws and regulations of the Coastal State triggers Article 30 of the Convention of the Laws of the Seas.

        Look it up.

        From a RUSSIAN perspective Article 30 was expressly written to cover exactly this situation, and they followed that article to the letter.

    • Igor P.P.

      Are you sure mere shadowing is the normal response when non-allied warships enter territorial waters uninvited and ignore demands to leave?

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    The Daily Heil also had a “journalist” on board. This provocation was clearly planned months in advance for propaganda purposes. Otherwise what was the invitation? “Hey guys, wanna come along for a trip just in case something interesting happens.”

    • Ryan

      I understand that NATO exercises are to take place in the Black Sea next week. It seems much more likely that the reporters are on board to cover that. You could debate the advisability of NATO’s choice of location for these exercises, but that’s a completely different issue.

      • Jay

        A full week’s warmup for a compelling NATO exercises story. That does seem much more likely now you mention it.

      • Tony Little

        I can’t decide if you’re simply incredibly naive or a “my country right or wrong’ kind of sycophant. Look at the military/geo-political history of the UK (& USA) and your suggestions become absurd.

    • Jo

      [ Mod: Duplicate ]

      Its all to make a second tvseries of British little warship pretends it is something bigger….omg….the spume of absolute hysterical hatred from UK politicians heads of committees etc against Putin….their ships are mostly rustbuckets cos Putin stole the money being the mildest….lots of quotes in DM of course.

      Ok close down UK Embassy….eject BBC….eject all UK based NGO’s as clearly regime change is still highly likely on UK wishlist if not actuality…

  • michael norton

    The aim of the CSG is to facilitate carrier-enabled force/power projection.

    I suppose this Destroyer D36 is part of the Queen Elizabeth expedition to Taiwan?

  • Tom Welsh

    Washington has never paid the slightest attention to laws of any kind – domestic, international, treaty or even its own Constitution – if it did not wish to. It is a rogue state, and has been since at the very latest 1836. (Thomas Jefferson claimed, quite plausibly, that the US government had committed no immoral acts during his ten years as President. But he also refused all gifts, including Christmas presents from his own family, to make absolutely sure he was never corrupt).

    Since HMG is now a kind of wholly-owned subsidiary of Washington – making the UK’s status similar to that of Puerto Rico – it is hardly surprising that it should be seen to act with the same cavalier disregard of law, custom, morality and common decency. That it has apparently also dispensed with common sense has been obvious since March 2020.

    It is typical of Washington’s behaviour that the “Defender” episode was carefully arranged so that the UK, and the UK only, stuck its head into the bear’s jaws. Whether the ship itself was sunk, or Russia destroyed the MoD in London, or London itself, no one in the USA would lose a moment’s sleep.

    • Hans Adler

      Now that you mention it — a drone strike on the MoD almost sounds like a plausible Russian reaction. We are getting into Dr Who territory.

  • JeremyT

    I saw real bullets being loaded on TV. Both 2(b) “practice with weapons” and 2(d) “act of propaganda” surely apply.
    HMS “Offender”.

  • Republicofscotland

    I think the idea is to attempt to goad Russia into conflict, then the bully boys gang Nato can invoke Article Five, I recall the clown Gavin Williamson saying in the past that Britain would send a warship to the Pacific to sort China out, or words to that affect. These reckless clowns could inadvertently start WWIII, on the Western media they would blame the Chinese or Russians, for having the sheer audacity to protect themselves from Nato’s creeping encroachment on their borders.

    I’ve even read that Nato are considering amending Article Five to allow a cyber attack on one of it members to be included as an attack, of course the Western media would be totally complaint in reporting it, even though it would ultimately be nonsense, seeking public approval to counter this so called attack would in my opinion be the order of the day.

  • michael norton


    A British-led aircraft carrier group voyage that will take the HMS Queen Elizabeth into the disputed South China Sea would push Beijing further into an angry defensive position, analysts believe.

    The 65,000-ton aircraft carrier with more than 30 aircraft plans to visit the Asian waterway for military drills.


    The HMS Queen Elizabeth group will visit 40 nations, including Japan, over its course of 48,152 kilometers, according to a Royal Navy statement on May 22.

    U.K. Carrier Strike Group Commander, Commodore Steve Moorhouse, called the voyage the “most important peacetime deployment in a generation,” according to the navy’s statement.

    I expect Crimea is round one in this adventure, The Persian Gulf round two and Taiwan round three, with the seas between Japan and Korea/China/Russia, round four.

    • Blissex

      «U.K. Carrier Strike Group Commander, Commodore Steve Moorhouse, called the voyage the “most important peacetime deployment in a generation,” according to the navy’s statement.»

      There is another by-election soon and the Conservatives really want to win that, and the jingoist vote matters. They want to remind the domestic electorate of the times when the English Empire defeated China in the Opium Wars for the enforcing the principle of “free trade” (that is pushing the sale of deadly and addictive drugs that were illegal in China), and of the century during which the English Empire had a fleet occupying chinese territorial waters and rivers:


      «From 1831 to 1865, the East Indies Station and the China Station were a single command known as the East Indies and China Station. The China Station, established in 1865, had as its area of responsibility the coasts of China and its navigable rivers, the western part of the Pacific Ocean, and the waters around the Dutch East Indies. The navy often co-operated with British commercial interests in this area. The formation had bases at Singapore (Singapore Naval Base), HMS Tamar (1865–1941 and 1945–1997) in Hong Kong and Wei Hai (at Liugong Island) (1898–1940). The China Station complement usually consisted of several older light cruisers and destroyers, and the Chinese rivers were patrolled by a flotilla of suitable, shallow-draught gunboats, referred to as “China gunboats”.»

      That is also a good way of reminding the chinese of the Opium Wars and of the occupation of their sea and rivers by the English Empire. Dragon-baiting at its best!

  • Clark

    From the behaviour of our governments you’d never guess that we’re in the middle of a set of interlocking global crises. We really need good government at this time, but they’re too busy playing stupid war games.

    What strikes me is that such provocations are predicated entirely upon the goodwill of those being provoked and anyone sympathetic to them. Over a quarter of the UK’s energy enters the country via a single gas pipeline, vulnerable to simple depth charges let alone modern autonomous submarine vehicles; anyone with a spare ten thousand pounds could bring the UK to its knees within days. The UK is far too vulnerable to contemplate any genuine conflict (unless we consider nuking official enemies at random as some sort of solution), so all sides must realise that such incidents are primarily theatrical.

    • Natasha

      “We really need good government” Agreed. Lets start with all candidates in public elections obliged to publish their own psychopath test, and ‘none of above’ all on all ballot papers too?

      • laguerre

        You can always put an unmarked ballot paper into the box if you want “none of the above”. The French do it all the time, it’s called “voter blanc”.

      • Bramble

        It was Mr Corbyn’s failing that test, when he announced he would never press the nuclear button, that landed us with this crew. In fact, it is only by proving one is a psychopath by embracing nuclear war enthusiastically that one becomes qualified for government – that’s Tories, Red Tories, LibDems, the whole pack of them. (I suppose the Greens haven’t been asked: would they say they would? I didn’t notice them standing up for Mr Corbyn.)

      • Baalbek

        Any psychopath worth his or her salt can easily fool a “psychopath test”.

        The problem isn’t so much a few “psychopathic apples” as it is a political and economic system that is thoroughly corrupt, morally and ethically bankrupt and unfit for purpose.

        A corrupt and deviant system selects only corrupt and deviant individuals to lead it. Why do you think Jeremy Corbyn never stood a chance?

        Waiting and hoping for a “good” leader to come along and save a broken system is a fool’s errand. The system itself must be transcended and replaced.

        • amanfromMars

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  • DunGroanin

    lol innocent passage!

    How about if we send an empty a/c carrier into HK port innocently?

    “Whoops we were using an old map”

    There is zero reason except to pacify some of the not so neo-nazis that Biden / Clinton and mad dogs like Nuland unleashed a decade ago upon the Russian citizens in Uke.

    The dumb Ukrainians really really really are thick as mince if they think this ends in any way well for their ‘territory’ mostly already promised to the Poles. And who exactly is going to look after the repair and maintenance of the sarcophagus over Chernobyl for the next centuries?

  • Andrew Brooks

    “It is also true that Russian annexation of the Crimea was not carried out in an accordance with international law.”

    I keep hearing this. But no-one ever explains which international laws were broken.

    Can someone help me please? Happy to listen to all arguments with an open mind.

    • michael norton

      For only a short time Russia gifted Crimea to Ukraine.
      Ukraine chose a Nazi route, so Russia, opposed to Nazis took Crimes back into the motherland, after all during the Crimea War Britain was fighting Russia in Crimea, so we must have assumed at that time that Crimea was part of Russia?

      • Yeah, Right

        That is not how this happened, michael.

        The Crimeans themselves chose to secede from the Ukraine, and then having made that decision they applied to join the Russian Federation. The Russian Federation then accepted that application, and that’s where we are now.

        The Russians did not “took Crimea back”, the Crimeans chose to leave.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Andrew Brooks,

      It seems to me that, as with the people of Scotland having a right of self-determination – the denizen of Crimea have a right to choose who they want to be governed – and I dare say – so do the Catalonians.

      • pretzelattack

        that’s my feeling, too. what if england threatened scotland with an invasion, put troops on the border, made noises about executing scots for whatever trumped up reason, as the right wing nato backed ukrainians threatened to do to crimeans?

        • pretzelattack

          russia didn’t annex crimea, the vast majority of crimeans wanted to be a part of russia. it makes this farce all the more infuriating. there is no fig leaf for this warmongering, ryan’s best efforts notwithstanding.

          • Tatyana

            Nobody in the West cares what do the crimeans want.
            They even don’t care if the crimeans may want to drink, or water their crops.
            Do you believe someone in the West cares if the crimeans are threatened by Ukrainian Nazis?
            You’ve got Ukraine one one hand and Crimeans on the other hand.
            Ukrainian president is able to play Hava Nagila on the piano, with his penis! No kidding.
            Do you think anyone in Britain will be interested in modest talents of ordinary crimeans after that?

      • Muscleguy

        After a considerable component of the Pro Ukraine population were exiled. That is not how you do democratic secession.

    • Tom Welsh

      I think Mr Murray may have meant that the decision of the Crimean people to rejoin the Russian Federation was not in accordance with the “rules-based order” laid down by Washington.

      The “rules-based order” actually includes only one rule.

      1. Do what we tell you, or else.

    • Bramble

      Probably the unwritten international law that states any action must be approved by the USA.

    • IMcK

      I view Craig’s unqualified use of the term ‘annexation’ as something of a spin since the consent/agreement of the people of Crimea is also relevant. However based on Craig’s previous articles re Kosovo, and with regard to the right of the people of Crimea to declare succession, international law is neutral unless there is specific justification for succession such as colonisation/mistreatment etc. I accept I am not directly addressing your question re breaking of international law.

      Regarding some of the responses to your post, the same neutrality of international law would also apply with regard to any claim of the Scottish people’s right of self determination, their impediment being their voluntary exchange of Scottish for British sovereignity more than 300 years ago.

    • GrigoryZinoviev

      Can anyone explain this from Chatham House?


      But Ukraine is struggling in its efforts to hold Russia accountable – either as a state or through individual criminal responsibility – as it cannot unilaterally ask any international court to give an overall judgment on the conflict.

      Is the International Court a mediation service which requires to consent of both parties? I’ve never heard that you needed someone’s consent before you took them to a civil court or that the prosecution needed the accused consent in a criminal court. Am I missing something?

      of anyone being sueed in a civil court or prosecuted in a criminal curt

  • Michael Droy

    “There is no dispute that Russia is in de facto control of the Crimea, irrespective of British support for the government of Ukraine’s claim to the region. It is also true that Russian annexation of the Crimea was not carried out in an accordance with international law.”

    Of course Crimea choosing to join Russia was in accordance with international law, and Annexation is an absurd word.
    The debate is whether Crimea’s breakaway from Ukraine was legal.
    You can have that point if you choose, though it was always called the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

    • Gary Littlejohn

      I agree with Michael Droy that the voluntary decision by Crimea to join Russia was in accordance with international law. The question of whether its decision to break away from Ukraine was also entirely legal can be answered in the affirmative. There are 3 different legal arguments, and even if one does not accept the first, the other two definitely apply. The first is that both Crimea and Ukraine were integral parts of the Soviet Union, but that Crimea was legally defined as part of Russia under the Soviet Constitution. Khrushchev’s unlateral decision to move Crimea into Ukraine was taken without any consultation, and was itself an illegal act, in contravention of that constitution, and in violation of the statute law, being without the requisite legislation to make that decision carry any legal force. Russia, as the legal successor to the Soviet Union (unlike any other former constituent Union Republic such as Ukraine, or say Uzbekistan) had the legal right to claim it as part of its own territory. The second is that, if one accepts that Crimea was part of Ukraine, the legitimate government of President Yanukovich had been overthrown by an illegal coup organised and funded by the USA, and that the autonomous region of Crimea had the right to reject the new regime in Kiev. This was especially so since the new regime in Kiev sent armed groups to attack Crimea and ordered its soldiers there to shoot unarmed civilians, having prior knowledge that the population of Crimea would not accept continued integration into Ukraine. This is the opinion of a German professor of international law. The third reason is that, as hinted at in the second reason, there had been a referendum in favour of independence from Kiev a few years before the Maidan coup in 2014. This was followed by a vote for independence in the Crimean Duma a year or two later. So before the Maidan coup, there had been a clear and peaceful expression of a legitimate political choice to leave Ukraine. (It was that knowledge which led the illegal new government to send a Nazi force to attack Crimea, and they burned a bus full of civilian passengers, killing them all, on their entry to the territory of Crimea.) The new regime in Kiev also ordered Ukrainian troops in Crimea to shoot unarmed civilians, and they refused to do so.

      It was on this basis that the Russian forces already stationed in Crimea under an existing agreement, peacefully persuaded the Ukrainian troops to surrender without a shot being fired. There was then a second referendum which voted in favour of voluntary integration with Russia, an action that the Russian authorities had insisted on before claiming to integrate Crimea under the international law of self-determination of peoples. That is the only basis that the Russian government has actually used for its claim to sovereignty over Crimea. It is the same process that Kosovo underwent with respect to Serbia, and that decision was recognised by the Western governments. So there was a fairly recent precedent as well as the UN support for self-determination of peoples. There can be no double standards on such referenda.

      • Andrew Brooks


        Craig Murray keep repeating the annexation claim without proof. And he keeps repeating Putin is a crook without proof. Most strangely of all he makes these claims while maintaining the creation of Kosovo was legal and above board (after NATO aggression, not even a referendum). Preposterous.

        I guess working for the FCO a man becomes privvy to a higher grade of propaganda and it eventually sticks.

        • Tony Little

          Agreed. I appreciate most of Craig’s work, but he does appear to have a blind spot over Kosovo and Putin (who is not a nice man, let’s be clear). But the whole Yugoslav situation is something I know about from very practical experience having worked with most of the governments here in different capacities since the mid 1990s. The real situation as described by all sides in all countries during the intervening years is significantly different to the narrative pushed by the UK (and other) MSM. But as they say, it’s the winners that write the history and truth really is the first casualty in any conflict

        • Baalbek

          Craig Murray also supports the ludicrous idea that a man who “feels” that he’s really a woman should have the same legal rights as his wife and mother, biology and logic be damned.

          The man is not infallible and unfortunately is still reflexively beholden to western liberalism even though it has jumped the proverbial shark.

        • Yeah, Right

          “Craig Murray keep repeating the annexation claim without proof.”

          The Russian Federation definitely did annex Crimea.

          Despite what some people here seem to think “annexation” is not necessarily an illegal act.
          It is when it is carried out by force, or otherwise without the consent of the prior sovereign.

          But if the decision by the Crimeans to secede from the Ukraine was legal (imo it was) then they are the “sovereigns”, and so they can – and did – consent to the annexation of their territory into the Russian Federation.

          After all, states exchange territory with each other is an entirely unexceptional act. One side cedes territory to the other, and that other side then annexes that territory. All nice and legal. All totally above-board.

          The legality of this annexation therefore hinges on one thing only: were the Crimeans legally entitled to secede from Ukraine?

          Yes? Or no?

  • Crispa

    Definitely a crass act of provocation which can only strengthen Russian determination to mind its back yard against external threat. Insensitive too given that it occurred the day after the 80th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s undeclared invasion of USSR. Perhaps the idea is for Johnson’s Nazi One Nation Great Britain to be Hitler’s successor.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        I wouldn’t have Orbán necessarily in lock step with the Ukrainian regime. Orbán’s position is considerably more nuanced. Hungary is second only to Malta in the EU in vaccine rollout precisely because they decided to use the Sinopharm and Sputnik V vaccine. Orbán is more sympathetic to the “traditional family values” espoused by Russia than the “anything goes” mantra of Western Europe.
        How long the EU will tolerate the blurring between ruling Party and the judiciary should be interesting especially from a Scottish perspective. My guess is that the EU would laugh in Queen Nikola’s face were she to apply for membership (while her political critics rot in her dungeons).

        • Akos Horvath

          Indeed. Hungary is not a big fan of Ukraine for several reasons. They stole gas from us twice in 2006 and 2009, which even forced some Hungarian factories to shut down. And the post-Maidan neonazi Ukies are screwing the Hungarians in Zakarpattia, which region was attached to Ukraine by Stalin. They banned the Hungarian language too, along with Russian and Romanian.

          Orban wants to have good relations with the East, i.e. Russia and China. He is an idiot but on this point he is right. The Russians are expanding our nuclear power plant, we bought Sputnik V and Chinese vaccines, which actually work, and Fudan University is opening a campus in Budapest.

          Unlike faraway Westerners, we actually know what Ukraine is. It’s not a pretty sight. We don’t want a violent nazi regime next door.

  • laguerre

    My feeling was that Johnson must be really panicking, if he needs this sort of stupid trick to divert attention from what’s happening at home, as diversion it certainly is. As Craig says, there’s absolutely ne question but that this was a deliberate intrusion into Crimean territorial waters intended to provoke a reaction. The trace of the ship’s movements on the Marine Traffic site apparently shows the ship turning into the territorial waters, and later back out.

    What is he diverting from, if he needs a foreign adventure to occupy people’s minds? Certainly not Batley & Spen. More likely he’s running into trouble in the party, now that it seems the vaccine wasn’t the miracle instant solution for COVID that Johnson needed, though it is of course a majorly useful weapon. People may be losing faith in him, together with the prospective consequences of the loss of Amersham & Chesham. All of that could be provoking panic in No. 10.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      “What is he diverting from”

      Most likely he’s just following orders.

  • Manjushri

    Im sure that if Putin had embraced a Rothschild central bank and Gates health and food policies then our warship would not be be playing with fire

  • portside

    This kind of nonsense provides Britain’s ruling class with psychological compensation for loss of geopolitical influence. Every single faction in the political and media elite is on board so we just have to get used to it. It is going to get much worse than this.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Mutti and Micron are proposing a tête-à-tête with Putin bypassing the EU institutions. The Poles and the Balts are pure beelin’. So much for the EU being a confederation of equals (a bitter laugh for us Scots).
    MBS is trying to normalise relations with Iran (they were just playing wee Jared along). Oman and Kuwait are falling into the orbit of Iran and Syria is to be re-admitted to the Arab League.
    Meanwhile Boris has lashed himself to the mast of USS Empire and that ship is destined to be assigned to the deep.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      “Meanwhile Boris has lashed himself to the mast of USS Empire and that ship is destined to be assigned to the deep.”

      The UK was lashed to that mast long before Borris was born. He would not be PM if he didn’t like it.

  • remember kronstadt

    What a drama. The director is only slightly more secure than the the players who are constrained by their individual parts and don’t need to know anything more than their lines. Off stage the author and funders enjoy the frisson of creation and power while the audience go home happily crying or laughing. Knowing the ending is no reason to stay at home. More Springtime for Hitler than Blazing Saddles.

  • James Cook

    How often has history shown that whenever there is a crisis within a state, the preferable response of the powerful is to attack a benign neighbour to focus peoples anger at someone else???????

    The “west” is in trouble and has/is creating multiple bogie-men to keep their populous distracted and divided.

    Let us all sing a round of “Great Britain, Strong Nation” and that will scare the begibbies out of the Russians and Chinese……..while we destroy our own economies on the home front!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jm

    Boris gets to play with his toy set in order to receive a nice pat on the tummy from Uncle Joe B.

  • mark golding

    Daily Mail reporter onboard HMS Defender tells lies to invoke British nationalism, deride and put down Russia. He reported the ship company donned flame retardent suits and body armor?? after the Russian ‘coastguard’ vessel fired shots. The ships company were already at NBCD State1 Condition Yankee and went to Zulu after ‘Action Stations’ was sounded.

  • Donny Matter

    Dear Craig,

    A small typo; you be missing a ‘t’, Sir. “Let me put it his was”. his -> this [ Mod: Thanks, but that’s already been fixed. ]

    Secondly, thank you for sharing your understanding of international law, and particularly sharing the relevant section of the Law of the Seas.

    Best of luck in resisting the oppression being rained down upon you by the State. Know that we readers of this humble blog can see it for what it is.

    With solidarity,

    Some random dude on the internet

    PS: I doubly thank you for I have referenced this article in my own little blog.

  • Del G

    I am not arguing counter to your piece; I too think that the UK is sabre-rattling, and given the size of the navy, it won’t end well should Russia take any action.
    However, if you take a ruler across the Black Sea, from Odessa to Georgia, the line goes right through the centre of Crimea. Therefore ANY ship’s captain, military or not, would plot a course with two legs, skirting round the coast, Cape Fiolent being the point of closest approach. The only question is how close to the shore one might legitimately navigate.
    My understanding is this is a shipping / ferry route. Perhaps it’s worth investigating whether these ships have taken a wider berth since Russia occupied Crimea?

    • DunGroanin

      I too am interested in the answer to this.

      However it’s not many belligerent naval ships thousands of miles from their shores that go in loaded and locked into their enemies waters as a matter of innocent transit , I bet.

      How would we respond to an equal transit past Scotland if they took the straightest route I wonder?

      When you poke a bear better beware of consequences.

  • amanfromMars

    Is cursed ignorance a valid and viable defence against missteps and maladministration??? Or is that made impossible if weaknesses are clearly pointed out to one?

    The very essence of war and conflict has fundamentally changed, and it appears all too often not to be true, that the West, Wild and Wacky, is lagging light years behind the East, Exotic and Erotic, and both of them crucially reliant upon the private and pirate sector actor for their disruptive and destructive wares and smarter ammo.

    It is though, maybe, something which US Special Operations Command [SOCOM], and one assumes then also Five Eyes allies, are starting to recognise is an exploitable catastrophic vulnerability they have which cannot be either easily or quickly resolved and remedied …… because of the strange advanced nature of that which now confronts and may taunt and daunt them.

    I refer unquestionably to the likes of that which is revealed in this contribution to a National Defense magazine elsewhere ….. http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2021/6/24/socom-preparing-for-omni-domain-battle

    “It is “a Herculean task but one that SOCOM is absolutely prepared to undertake.””

    With particular specific regard to the omni-domain recognised, is it much more a Sisyphean task requiring the infinite patience of a veritable saint ……. and a constantly moving and rapidly evolving feast of feats which have no prior precedent for the purpose of comparison and evaluation. However, one cannot deny the imperative that the effort be made for whenever not, is one left totally at the mercy of others excelling in the task.

    It is difficult to not believe the truth of the way things are today such as has been earlier revealed to the world by a “Q” …. https://youtu.be/LcgG_E9gQJM?t=54

    The crying shame though, and the undoubted opportunity that then presents itself to an enlightened and enlightening few, who may or may not be many, is the fact that the vast majority of citizens on the planet will have not an inkling about such matters and how their lives are fated to revolve around the decisions made on the great virtual fields of applied realistic play there.

  • Marmite

    Forgive me for sounding out on a limb, but I have come to think that many of these war games amount to just a kind of coordination between powers to make it look like there is impending conflict. They need distractions from their domestic crises, and they carve a sheepish populace that doesn’t know the difference between dumb patriotism and civic responsibility. It won’t amount to any great loss of life (both sides are predominantly caucasian after all, and usually only engage in proxy wars where people of different ethnicities are the the ones that suffer – yes, that’s how disturbingly racist they are), but it will provide huge backing for things like Trident, and less resistance to arms trade fairs.

    • Wikikettle

      Its a bitter memory for Russians… being invaded by Facist Europeans, defeating them, and now again the ‘collective ‘west’ on the 80th anniversary, supporting neo nazis in Ukraine. I have a sinking feeling coming on.

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