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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  • michael norton

    I see the “incident” of the Royal Navy Destroyer off Crimea as a playground pantomime.
    The herberts on the destroyer were taunting amnd playing with the bear.
    The bear was taunting and playing with D36
    no harm has come to either navy but they have all had fun and practise.

    • michael norton

      If D 36 were allowed and put in to Sevastopol
      I dare say the teams would get drunk together.

    • CasualObserver


      With a BBC bloke, and a Daily Mail scribbler on board, one would have to imagine that the incident was rather more than playground pantomime ? One might even suspect that the intended recipients were not so much the Russians but maybe an audience here in Blighty ?

  • Susan

    The focus on ‘Crimea’ is a complete red herring in this discussion. Just like ‘Hamas rockets’ and ‘right to defend ourselves’ is the red herring narrative in the Palestinian genocide.

    Crimea is a head-fake narrative that is deliberately used to distract us and lead us down the rabbit holes of legal secession vs illegal annexation, (and all the contorted permutations on this theme). Crimea is used to distract from the real issue, which is the illegal coup by the United States of the democratically elected President of Ukraine.

    The coup is the real issue that we need to keep in mind.

  • Tatyana

    I’m a russian woman, married, my son is 15. I read opinions on this blog since the Scripal case.
    Many comments here try to make all the Russians responsible for the action of those who had long passed away. Like Stalin.
    I have never seen him, never voted him into the country’s leadership. He is dead. He was dead long before I was born.
    More and more often here I get a disgusting feeling. As if I’m greedily touched by someone’s old dirty sticking hand. As if those ‘hands’ are trying to convince me that I should tolerate these disgusting touches to ‘pay’ for the faults of long ago dead people.
    Bringing ancient claims forward to have real modern profits today?
    I think I should keep my son away from you.

    • BrianFujisan

      Who are the Culprits Tatyana….. most of the blog’s regulars enjoy your input … as do I.

    • Pigeon English

      I have been on this blog since Skripal case as well. I think your judgement is too harsh. I do not remember many comments mentioning
      Stalin, gulags and other Russo-phobic comments ! Most of us criticises our governments and not enough Russia to annoyance of our host😀.
      Most comments are sensible even though I don’t agree with them all.
      I don’t think, this is a “bad” site you should keep your son away from!
      But it is too much for 15 year old.

      • Robyn

        I think 15 or even earlier is a good time for a child to be guided towards an understanding of the world as it really is. Better late than never but I wish I’d had that guiding hand and blogs such as this in my teen years.

    • Robyn

      Sorry you feel that way, Tatyana, I love your comments. When there are too many comments to read I scroll through and read my favorites – you are one of them. Please stick with us, a reliable voice from Russia is needed and much valued.

      • casperger

        Robyn at 02:13
        Agree 100%
        Please continue to share your views with us, Tatyana. They help us to understand what is really going on in this messy world.

      • MI0

        Totally second that and I hope Tatyana and indeed all of the non Brit commenters can still feel welcome here.

        • On the train

          Yes I agree Tatyana, your comments are my favourites. I love to read them. You are sensible, well informed and often humorous . You bring an unusual point of view and a very interesting and humane one.

    • Giyane


      Most of us on this blog are just trying to find a way of describing the sense of powerlessness we feel at the latest political coup in our own country. References to Stalin are the way try to express our feelings about our favourite politician, Jeremy Corbyn, being chucked out and replaced with a Zionist nutcase.

      We cannot express our powerlessness by reference to any previous political figure in our own short history simply because we have never had people so stupid, so greedy, so untruthful, so blatantly uninterested in us as Boris Johnson and his stupid version of Brexit…

      Thanks to you for pointing out to me that this is offensive. Please forgive us. We are really struggling to describe something which none of us have ever experienced before, that the entire purpose of government has been taken over by people who hate us. Sorry if we have caused offence before and please remind us if we continue to cause future offence.

      We are not accustomed to our politicians being so openly and unashamedly and completely selfish and uncaring about us. You should cry for us.

    • John

      Tatyana. I enjoy reading your comments from a Russian perspective. The Foreign Office is a notorious harbinger of fake news. Anyone believing their narrative and that of the US is intellectually challenged. Please continue participating on this blog.

    • Dom

      Tatyana, this is probably the least Russophobic site that exists in the UK — which helps explain why Craig is persona non grata with the UK and Scottish establishments. Anyone promoting Russophobic or Russiagate narratives under his articles always gets roasted with facts by well informed commenters. Furthermore there is no other place on the internet you would be so consistently lauded, regardless of what you write.

    • Akos Horvath

      I have looked through this thread and I have been the only one mentioning Stalin, so I must be the culprit. I only mentioned Stalin in the context of criticising Ukraine not Russia. If you interpret this as making all Russians responsible for his actions, you should improve your reading comprehension.

      I like this site, but it seems to be going the way of most other blogs. That is, a certain clique of people wanting to turn it into an echo chamber, where their views are never challenged.

      • Tatyana

        It’s not your comment, Akos. Yours I really enjoyed as it was true to historical facts on how Ukraine got lands during USSR, and also because it was news for me, I didn’t know about Hungarians’ troubles in Ukraine.
        It is that we discuss Crimea often on this site, and I assure you, the question of Tatars and their deportation by Stalin is mentioned pretty often. And, because our kind host Mr. Murray believes Tatars are never allowed to return to Crimea, and many other untrue things he belives.

        • Akos Horvath

          Ok, thanks for the clarification. My bad then. We have a border with Ukraine, thus know how they behave and in the internet age it’s also easy to find out what Hungarians in Zakarpattia think, because they contribute to blogs like this. The main Hungarian daily in Ukraine actually ran an op-ed titled ‘Spaciba’, after Putin laid down the law to the Ukie neonazis in Crimea. The Ukrainian thugs that regularly harass the Hungarian community in Zakarpattia calmed down a bit after they got a whoop ass in Crimea and the Donbass.

          Ukraine also stole gas from us, twice, in the winter. We lost a large sum of money, factories were shut down and hospitals had to run on emergency generators. Ukraine doesn’t have many friends in Hungary, deservedly in my opinion. The sooner Nord Stream 2 and the Balkan-Hungarian section of Turkstream come online the better.

          As for the Crimean Tatars, the plight of Japanese Americans during WW2 is very similar, both in numbers and severity. But you don’t hear about that too much. Hollywood makes sure the average Westerner lives in a bubble and doesn’t know about the darker side of his own country’s history.

          • Blissex

            «Ukraine also stole gas from us, twice, in the winter. […] The sooner Nord Stream 2 and the Balkan-Hungarian section of Turkstream come online the better.»

            The USA seems to an “hydraulic empire” and their global power rests on the ability to stop delivery of oil and gas to whichever country they are annoyed with.

            By controlling Ukraine and Poland, across which many pipelines run, they can switch off the supply of oil and gas to any eastern and central european country, if their government ever displeases them.

            I was once chatting with a polish nationalist who was opposed to NordStream I and II, arguing that it gave Russia the ability to stop supplies to Europe, so I pointed out that the alternative was to have as the only supplier USA controlled ships to deliver fuel from the USA controlled Persian Gulf and Gulf of Mexico, and they could simply make the ships go somewhere else, without even losing much in sales, he simply said that he had not realized that.

    • Courtenay Barnett


      I have been on this blog for longer than I can now remember.

      I had visited Russia in 1992 when things were really economically challenging for the average Russian. As a student in London in the 1970s two of my young countrymen, one Black and one White Jamaican received scholarships to study in the then Soviet Union and one qualified as a medical doctor and the other became an electrical engineer. All to say that for my part I do not have any instinctively negative reaction to Russians.

      Actually, I find your inputs both instructive and carefully reasoned.

      For my part – I am not your enemy.



    • Deschutes

      It is Western propaganda to portray Stalin as a ‘murderous dictator’ who killed thousands. This decades long brainwash has seeped very deeply into people’s minds. Deliberately, conveniently left out of this false narrative is the fact that very, very many in the Russian military in the 1930’s (esp 1937) wanted to stage a military coup, kill Stalin, and overturn the Revolution. These ‘kulaks’ were supporters of the Hitler’s Third Reich. Tukhachevsky is but one example. Nikolai Bukharin was another. Trotsky as well had ties to Hitler. The purges Stalin did were of pro-Nazi bourgeoisie coup plotters, of which there were very many in those dangerous times leading up to WWII’s start. It is worth reminding the brainwashed masses reading this website that Stalin’s Red Army made massive, massive sacrifices and by and large defeated Nazi Germany. 26 million Russians lost their lives in Operation Babarossa the Nazi invasion of the USSR. In contrast the Americans deliberately came into the war at the very end, with comparatively minor casualties and only to stop the Russians from continuing west through Germany and into France.

      • Alexander Myagkov

        I agree with you but small correction for those brainwashed or may be simply lacking knowledge.

        It wasn’t 26 million Russian lives lost and it wasn’t only Red Army losses. It was 26 million Soviet people lives, among them civilians and soldiers. For civilians it was Belorussians, Ukrainians, and Russians, and other nationalities from occupied areas, and Jews of course. Belorussia suffered the biggest loss percentage wise, it was about 1/3 of population.
        And in Red Army it was these nationalities of course and all others from all nationalities of Soviet Union.

    • Coldish

      Tatyana, may I echo other commenters in hoping that you will continue to comment here, even though you may disagree with Craig on some issues that are important to you? We have to accept that almost everyone else will differ from us regarding some issue or other. There are subjects (e.g. Russia, climate) on which I strongly disagree with Craig, but in my view the immense value of his blog in explaining what is actually going on easily outweighs those disagreements. So please keep on keeping on!

    • Feral Finster

      I don’t agree with Craig all of the time. I don’t even agree with myself, all of the time.

      But what I appreciate about Craig is that he is honest, and he appears to come by his (IMHO) mistaken opinions honestly. No idea how an honest man got as far in H.M. Foreign Service as he did, but there you have it.

    • pete

      I have always enjoyed your comments Tatyana, nor do I blame you for whatever Stalin may have done, he is – or was – responsible for his own actions. He was defending the state that he lived in and built up its military strength to rival the US, a not inconsiderable achievement.
      Russia has good reason not to trust the west, not least because the mismanaged transfer from a centralised economy to the present capitalist one was typified by an extraordinary exploitation by ruthless western entities. The ongoing situations we see developing today are a result of that. Stalin is the bogeyman, the go-to person whenever someone wants to use the shorthand version of thinking to characterise Russia.
      So please don’t paint us all with the same brush, a variety of voices and views is vital to a healthy debate. Sorry for the alliteration in the last sentence.

    • john Robertson

      I follow from Australia, and would like to keep reading your posts Tatyana.

  • Tatyana

    Good morning people.
    I actually have strong nerves and can deal with such emotions, but sometimes it really unsettles me and then I lose my creativity, which I cannot afford too often.

    This strange feeling is difficult to explain, but I’ll try.
    I have a new friend Sylvia. She is black. By the time I was born, she moved from America to Africa and established a charity business. It delivers to customers goods handcrafted by the poorest people in african villages.
    We talk a lot with her personally and many of her explanations are the key to the puzzle for me. The emotional key, I mean, because it is difficult to understand the motives and feelings of black people being a Russian person – we simply do not have such people around in the country.

    Everything went this way until the moment when she promoted the fair for the holiday of Junteens, urging to shop from small black business. This post received comments that gave me that same unpleasant feeling. Someone wrote that they better prefer reparations, money.

    People who have never been slaves want money from those who have never had slaves.
    I get the same feeling when I see the demands of the Crimean Tatars.
    There are also the demands of the Ukrainians to give them a share of the Nord Stream-2.

    While Zadornov was alive, he could joke wittily about such statements, for example, that the Russians should demand from the Tatars the money we paid as a tribute, for 400 years of oppression. Now Zadornov is dead and I see that such things are no longer perceived as an absurd joke.
    People go mad and lose their dignity at the opportunity to get money.
    It’s disgusting.

    I expected older people in high positions to be more focused on mutual safety and find ways to interact and move forward. But instead, they rip chunks of prey out of each other’s mouths. And this mood is picked up by the broad masses of the population.

    • Tatyana

      Everything becomes extremely politicized. In my industry, I see these promotions all the time
      “spend your money buying from an LGBT business”,
      “invest in a black-owned business”,
      “buy from a woman-owned business”…
      You are lucky if you have collected all the prizes – if you are a black LGBT woman, then your “product” is advertised in the most prominent place.

      When I go to see what is on offer, I see no talent or hard work there, but ugly non-functional things for which a smart-ass owner wants to make a profit, riding the wave of the current political agenda.

      And you will see this mood in other areas as well. It’s the same in big politics.
      People smell the sweet taste of freebies. They don’t want to work. They don’t want to put in the effort and create something worthwhile. They don’t do it for the mission. Behind their “product” there’s no noble idea, or even a good old honest business.
      They want easy money.
      As the Ukrainian mayor said at the investment forum – “buy from us, invest in Ukraine, because we are sexy.”
      I find all of this extremely distant from reality. Harmful. And disgusting.

      • michael norton

        I can not see why Ukraine should profit from Methane excavated in Russia and sold to Germany via Nord Stream Two.
        I can understand that if the gas transits Ukraine that they can expect a small income.
        If Ukraine had not stolen gas then Nord Stream may not have been needed.
        But as U.S.A./Biden has his fingers in Ukraine, Ukraine has shown that it has ceased to be a useful partner for Russia, that is a shame.

        • Tatyana

          Thank you for your understanding, Michael.

          Perhaps it is because of communism – or whatever they were trying to build in my country – that I grew up with great respect for honest work and a clear understanding of what a job well done is, and why a working person should be adequately paid.

          Seeing a beggar on the street telling how unfair fate was to him, I don’t feel guilty for his misfortunes. But as a normal human, I will offer to pay for his urgent needs, and point him to social service – a service that exists on my taxes, where he will receive shelter, food and job.
          I will not give him cash, because he will spend it on vodka at the nearest store.
          And all the more, I will not stand on the street urging passers-by to give money to this poor fellow.
          Because the story of this poor fellow about sick children or his deceased wife is – well, this tearful pity for everyone who declares themselves hurt, this emotional storm that makes me act impulsively – is wrong.

          Giving him cash will not help him take a worthy place in society, to be equal among equals.
          I feel sorry for him, but I look at the world realistically, I choose the most rational methods if I really want to change something.

          • Tatyana

            And that is why I heartily support Sylvia who is helping a very small black business in Africa to exist.
            And that’s why I will not support her commentator, a black woman living in America expecting cash reparations from the US government.

            Also I perfectly clearly understand that my whole line of reasoning does not matter to many people. They will not read and try to understand. They will snatch one little piece out of my whole reasoning and declare me, you know, racist, or anti-Semitic, or anti-Tatar, or anti-Ukrainian, or pro-Putinist, and so on and so forth.

            Complex people are not needed now.
            Short slogans and catchy headlines are in trend now. So they will also cut me down.
            It’s especially amusing to watch how they would build this virtual castrated something out of my reasoning, and begin to dispute it. While I didn’t even mean it.

            That’s what I feel.

    • mark golding

      Tatyana gives us an ephemeral vision of a path to reform that embraces a humanitarian construct.that will certainly take courage to capture before it is wasted in the flames of conflict..

      • michael norton

        There now seems too many “sides” in the United Kingdom.
        Black, Pakistani, Eastern European, Caribbean, Jewish, you name it, they all think they should have special status.
        Yet this week week learn that White poor children are the most disadvantaged in the U.K.
        We should not keep going with this “splitting”
        we need a bit more
        all in it together.
        I still live on a council estate.
        When I was growing up, soon after the War, on a council estate, everybody seemed equal, we all had nothing,
        simpler times and perhaps better times.

        • mark golding

          Indeed Michael I do like your unassuming, sober-minded approach. I played together with my mates from dawn to dust on bombsites and broken buildings in South London. Finding an old gas-mask and a cache of live bullets was a treasure to be squirreled away; in our innocence any association with death was beyond our reasoning.

        • Squeeth

          This is what identity politics is for. The working class is colour blind but has been under attack since it evolved and especially since the late 60s when Liarbour served notice that it wouldn’t even pretend to support working class interests. All the rest is a pocket of smoke.

        • fonso

          The splitting is done by race obsessives who want to racialize child victims of austerity cuts. They would prefer to bitch about minorities than ever acknowledge who is actually to blame for off the charts inequality. (Clue: it’s the same people who have denied today’s youth any possibility of a council flat.)

        • Blissex

          «all think they should have special status. Yet this week week learn that White poor children are the most disadvantaged in the U.K.»

          Pointing that out seems to be racist according to “The Guardian”, as class-based politics is a weapon against meritocratic identity politics:


          an ongoing campaign to use the underachievement of poor white people as a weapon to demonise antiracism

        • slammo

          “everybody seemed equal, we all had nothing,”

          good news – those days will soon be back.

    • Courtenay Barnett


      I share with you an article I wrote several years ago. I share it here with you to try and offer context for some, if not all, of what you commented on.

      I am a lawyer by profession and I am on the verge of retirement after 40 years of active law practice – just so that I can have more free time to blog with you ( smile – chuckle).


  • Tatyana

    Brian, are you asking who are the culprits? Look, here is one of them, his photo is right on the site. Our kind host, never answering my direct questions.
    I feel him slapping on my shoulder every time he talks about independent Tatarstan, the secession of Chechnya or the Crimea for Kyrymtatarlar. He brings many dusty monsters here from his historic chests. With this he justifies his understanding of why modern Russia should disintegrate into a handful of small independent national states. And that explains his opposition to Putin, whose policy is to keep Russia united. Which, by the way, is supported by the indisputable majority of our population.

    For me, Mr. Murray’s position on Russia is unacceptable for several completely personal reasons – I saw the last such change with the collapse of my country, and the consequences of such a collapse are dire. I’m not going to sacrifice more of my sons to these dirty political games.

    I don’t mind the history lessons, but when they are not imposed to achieve todays political goals.
    In addition, I do not think that we actually have any time left for historical lessons – those should have been learned long ago.
    Mistakes should have been corrected by the older generation, and not passed onto us and our children.
    Today we find ourselves on the verge of completely different ‘exercise’, and this time the consequences will be dire, not only for the Russians.

    I don’t see how the crimes of Stalin or the Golden Horde oppression would help us avoid a global conflict. But I see distinctly how it will help calm someone’s conscience and justify new wars. And, I find it absolutely disgusting.

    • Reza

      Sure Mr Murray is angling for war because he isn’t some fanatical Russian nationalist. I suppose he’s also an anti semite because he doesnt share your love for the apartheid state. Let’s see if he changes his disgusting ways.

    • MArk

      Tatyana – you are the best!

      As an independent minded Scot that generally agrees with Craig’s viewpoints I can not fathom:
      1) his antagonism to Crimea being part of Russia, or
      2) his assertion that Scotland can become independent by popular vote whilst Crimea cannot rejoin Russia by similar action.

      Please keep posting. I for one love to read you perspective and do not think it reflects well on Craig when he has berated your opinion.

      • Mark Marshall

        “his assertion that Scotland can become independent by popular vote whilst Crimea cannot rejoin Russia by similar action.”

        Mr. Murray will speak for himself, but I assume that his position on Scottish independence is that while Scotland has the moral right to secede from the UK based on a majority vote in a referendum, and while it would be good policy on the part of the British government to respect the Scottish people’s desire to secede, Scotland does not have the legal right under international law to secede from the UK if the UK refuses to cede sovereignty over Scotland. I believe that the unilateral secession of territory from a sovereign state is not a right under international law, even if the secession is not for the purpose of joining another sovereign state, as was the case in Crimea. And Mr. Murray or someone else will presumably correct me if I’m wrong.

        • Justin

          Mr Murray has already spoken for himself, in his one-off podcast about the Declaration of Arbroath: https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/the-declaration-of-arbroath-and-the-way-forward-now-2/

          Alex Salmond addressed the same point on behalf of the Alba party: https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2021/04/the-game-has-changed/

          Craig’s position is that it doesn’t matter whether secession is branded illegal by the UK government; a Unilateral Declaration of Independence would be valid if the seceding region is recognised as a state by the international community. Here’s a summary of Craig’s position, in his own words:

          Scotland can become independent, but becoming independent is, without doubt, going to be illegal in terms of UK law – which is to say Westminster law. There will not be a route to Independence agreed with Westminster.

          If you believe in Scottish Independence, you believe that the Scottish nation are a “people” within the meaning of the UN Charter, and thus have an inalienable right of self-determination. That means that Westminster has no right, by legislation or by any other means, to prevent the Scottish people from exercising their self-determination.

          I am sorry, but this is the fact: If you believe Scotland should only move to Independence in a Westminster-approved process, you do not really believe in Scottish Independence at all.

          You can also read (and watch) more about his views on why Westminster Cannot Block Scottish Independence.

          • Mark Marshall

            “a Unilateral Declaration of Independence would be valid if the seceding region is recognised as a state by the international community.”

            Fair enough. And by the same token, Crimea’s secession and attachment to Russia will presumably be valid if Crimea is recognised as part of Russia by the international community. Same with Kosovo, presumably. If that’s Mr. Murray’s position, there’s no contradiction.

          • Blissex

            «Crimea’s secession and attachment to Russia will presumably be valid if Crimea is recognised as part of Russia by the international community. Same with Kosovo, presumably. If that’s Mr. Murray’s position, there’s no contradiction.»

            My guess is that his very clever position is that in Crimea the “people” that have a right of secession are the colonizing Tartars, just as in Kosovo they are the colonizing Albanians:

            The Kosovans are a people with the right of self-determination. That status in Crimea belongs to the Tartars, not the colonisers.

            But in the case of Crimea apparently his reasoning applies *only* (I guess “because Putin”) to the declaration of independence in 2014, but not to the annexation of Crimea by the Ukraine in 1954, which is the only basis of the ukrainian claim to ownership.

            Ironically in the period before 2014 of illegitimate ukranian annexation of the Crimea the crimean tartars (and crimean germans, italian, greeks, russians, …) were oppressed because resistant to ukrainization, and considered foreign squatters on the sacred ukrainian/polish/lithuanian soil of Crimea. While the after independence and joining the Russian Federation, the russians have protected and supported those minorities and their culture and their right of return to the Crimea.

    • DunGroanin

      Tatyana er al.

      This is a most interesting and joyful topic.

      Joyful because it is happening. It means we are able to have views on subjects that don’t wholly agree – it is human to have an infinite diversity, whilst still being human.

      The particular opinion of our host :

      Well, it is his site.
      He is allowed his opinions.
      As he allows ours.

      There is a infestation of the ii/DS trolls here (REAL anti Russians) as part of the the multifaceted attack fronts on CM. Including accusations of him in some way being a secret Russian supported journalist because he may have been on RT or something.

      I can only suggest that he has ‘thought it through’ and knows what he is doing just as many a famous Russian General has done when resisting invasion and annihilation.

      Ultimately, He must do what HE thinks is best, even if I may not always agree. Calvados for me is better than most Whisky.

      I only know I stand with Craig Murray.

      All best and love your always well considered input it adds to the greatness of this oasis of wisdom.

    • pretzelattack

      i strongly agree that the consequences would be dire, as an american i would prefer to avoid dying in a war with russia, but our lords and masters here have a different agenda. perhaps they have mistaken russia for one of the much easier targets they are used to.
      Crimea is a distraction/bogus justification for ramping up the hostilities; fwiw to me the most important factor is what do the crimeans want. international law is breached more often than followed. it seems to me that mr. murray has adopted a rather rigid attitude toward russia, but at least he comes to the conclusion that britain and the u.s. are the most significant warmongers.

  • mark golding

    Is Britain emulating the U.S. using lies and right-wing jingoism in an age of diminished expectations?

    In a statement on March 6th 2018 to the House of Commons, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson made the ‘default setting’ explicit state policy that holds today three years on in a British ‘lost at sea’ confrontation with Russia.

    BoJo said this alluding to the Skripal incident, “Russia is engaged in a host of malign activities that stretch from the abuse and murder of journalists to the mysterious assassination of politicians. I am glad that he mentioned Mr Nemtsov (former deputy prime minister, the opposition leader Boris Nemtsov), as in December I was privileged to pay tribute to his memory at the site of his murder on a bridge in Moscow. It is clear that Russia is, I am afraid, in many respects now a malign and disruptive force, and the UK is in lead across the world in trying to counteract that activity.”

    Prick! Release the Skripals from their British prison, at a secret location, incommunicado, without contact with their families or the consular representatives of the state whose passports they hold, incarcerated as part of an absurd lie!

  • Martinned

    Wait, so we’re not supposed to stand up for the victims of bullies by reminding the bully that we don’t accept their actions? The British sailed a ship through Ukranian waters for the same reason that they sometimes sail through the South China Sea: To signal their view of who does or does not legally own that piece of water. This is something that will undoubtedly be part of Ukraine’s case if and when such a case ever makes it to the ICJ. (The only Ukraine v. Russia case that is currently pending before the ICJ concerns racial discrimination against, amongst others, Crimean Tatars. The issue of sovereignty over Crimea is not directly before the court.)

    By the way, I don’t believe that Craig believes that a case before the ICJ would actually resolve this issue. If it had jurisdiction, the ICJ would hold that the Crimea is part of the territory of Ukraine, and then exactly nothing would change. (See also: Chagos Islands.) Saying otherwise is just a fig leaf in order to be able to describe actions in support of Ukraine as “warmongering”.

    • Blissex

      «The British sailed a ship through Ukranian waters for the same reason that they sometimes sail through the South China Sea: To signal their view of who does or does not legally own that piece of water.»

      That is obviously ridiculous, because there is a point that is quite important and Craig Murray and other commenters seem to have not made it: why should an english ship sail through some coastal water to make a point on behalf of the Ukraine when ukrainian ships don’t do that? The ukrainian government have a significant navy and they could sailing their ships through what they believe are their own territorial waters. They could even tell their ships to sail into crimean ports, as they believe these to be theirs anyhow, whatever the people of Crimea vote.

      Give that, the only purpose of the UK sending a ship where the ukrainians themselves don’t is manifestly to make a propaganda stunt, likely with a view the the next by-election which happens to be in an area allegedly sensitive to “Make Britain Great Again” posturing.

      «If it had jurisdiction, the ICJ would hold that the Crimea is part of the territory of Ukraine»

      That is just handwaving, because I cannot imagine that they would be upholding the legality of the forced annexation of the “Autonomous Republic of Crimea” to the Ukraine in 1954. How could have that been legal?

      • Tatyana

        Because Britain has already determined the side that you take.
        In our modern world there are no countries left wishing to carry out peacekeeping. But all countries are eager to take the side they see as the most likely winner in a potential war. We are divided into hostile camps and no one offers white doves or olive branches.

        I think it is irresponsible to inspire warlike sentiments in a foreign country as long as you feel safe in your own home. This is infantilism, teenager protest, thirst for revenge, frivolity – anything but serious, responsible behavior. It’s time to realize that if things really start to happen in a bad way, then nowhere will be safe.

        I could suggest that anti-russian commentors better engage in conciliatory activities. That would be really great!
        Minsk agreements etc. If our governments don’t do it, then lets do it ourselves.
        After all, I believe nobody here have spare children.

        • michael norton

          Tatyana, I can not see how the U.K. government do not believe that Crimea has mostly been Russian for a thousand years.
          The U.K. went to war with Russia in Crimea in 1853, so you would think we could remember that.
          In the Second World War the Great Powers met in Yalta, which is in Crimea, Stalin represented the U.S.S.R.
          Russia is the main country which survived the fall of the U.S.S.R.
          Yes, the top communists handed Crimea to Ukraine, when you were all part of the U.S.S.R.

          That’s like Edward Heath taking north West Berkshire and giving it to Oxfordshire, in the early 80’s.
          It upset a lot of people but as the U.K. stayed as one country, not the end of the World.

        • Blissex

          «Because Britain has already determined the side that you take»

          That is obvious, but it goes well beyond that. Because look at it from a selfish UK point of view: if the ukrainian elites are not doing it, and they are directly interested in the dispute, why should an UK ship take risks on their behalf instead? Why do bear-baiting as a favour to the ukrainian elites?

          Especially sending UK ships to do bear-baiting near the Crimea, to remind the russians of their defeat by the English Empire there, and sending UK ships to do dragon-baiting near south China, to remind the chinese of their defeat in the Opium wars there? This goes beyond the usual anti-Putin, anti-Xi attacks, it is also a way to make most of the russian and chinese populations feel humiliated by “the west”, and *increase* their support for Putin and Xi, which seems very stupid to me.

          The only reason I can think why the UK Conservatives are doing this, other than glorious stupidity, is to pander to the most jingoistic voters ahead of the “Batley and Spen” by-election that they badly want to win, by reminding them of the time when the English Empire was sending the gunboats to teach lessons to the savage natives.

          • Tom Welsh

            “Because look at it from a selfish UK point of view: if the ukrainian elites are not doing it, and they are directly interested in the dispute, why should an UK ship take risks on their behalf instead?”

            That is not quite a “selfish” enough point of view, Blissex. The selves involved are not those of the UK and its citizens, but those of certain selfish individuals who see future profit and preferment through following orders from Washington.

            The only question I have is: why are those people not arraigned and tried for high treason? I fear the answer is that the prosecuting authorities, if not the courts themselves, have also been purchased.

            ‘Sanctions are contrary to Europe’s interests. Nevertheless European governments accommodated Washington’s agenda. The reason was explained to me several decades ago by my Ph.D. dissertation committee chairman who became Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. I had the opportunity to ask him how Washington managed to have foreign governments act in Washington’s interest rather than in the interest of their own countries. He said, “money.” I said, “you mean foreign aid?” He said, “no, we give the politicians bags full of money. They belong to us. They answer to us.”’

            Paul Craig Roberts’ Address to the International Conference on the European/Russian Crisis, Delphi, Greece, June 20-21, 2015

          • Coldish

            Blissex: you write: ” The only reason…”
            I agree that unscrupulous national leaders faced with big problems at home may try to create a crisis overseas, commonly one where the military can be called on to show the flag. Thatcher used this stratagem successfully when she engineered a war in the South Atlantic. Batley and Spen looks like going Tory this time (especially with gorgeous George Galloway hoovering up spare votes from all directions, but especially from Labour) without the need for Johnson and his gang to do anything more than watch the fun. I suggest another concern for Johnson may be potential popular anger over the Delta variant. Even after a clear majority of the English population have been vaccinated at least once the Covid-19 virus seems to be spreading freely in several parts of the country. There are new hotspots in West Cornwall. St Ives (where security and admin staff from the various G7 delegations were based during the run-up to the summit) and Falmouth (the local base for press and media during the summit) have both been reporting rates of new infections at levels of up to 900 cases per 100,000 population per week during June. There are still major hotspots in Lancashire, but there are now new ones in the North East of England, where the City of Durham’s infection rate has topped 2000. Good reason for Johnson to divert media and popular attention to a convenient distant target like Crimea.

        • Akos Horvath

          I am convinced there won’t be any war. The Brits are out of the EU, thank god, and are desperate to look important. They are just doing their regular malign and petty games on behalf of the yanks, trying to spoil any rapprochement between Europe and Russia. The aim is to keep up provocations, hoping for a Russian response that would justify dismantling any economic ties, including NS2, between Russia and the EU.

          But Europe is far from united around this paranoid anti-Russian and anti-Chinese policy. Macron and Merkel are saner people, who want to have less hostility towards Russia. And they are the top dogs in the EU. Hungary also has very active economic ties with both Russia and China, including the expansion by Russia of our nuclear power plant, our buying of the Sputnik V vaccine, and the opening of the Budapest campus of Fudan University. Italy is also against escalation. Plus, there is no appetite for a war among the general population. Most people clearly recognize the pathetic games the Anglo world is playing as it loses its world dominance to Asia. The Poles and the Baltic midgets can huff and puff all they want, they are irrelevant. Germany and France need both Russia and China for business and that’s what matters.

      • Blissex

        «certain selfish individuals who see future profit and preferment through following orders from Washington.»

        That seems also the case, but in the case of England it is much more than that: the acceptance of USA suzerainty was widely popular after WW2, because the people who fought it knew very well by direct experience how brutally the English Empire had been defeated by Germany and Japan, and that it could be equally defeated by the Soviets. During WW2 England had only two options; surrender to Adolf, or surrender to Roosevelt, and Winston chose wisely. A detail that I often mention is that in 3-4 years the USA built one hundreds and fifty one aircraft carriers (of which “only” sixty were full size, the others were the equivalent of helicarriers of today).

        Given that the english population were quite happy to surrender to the USA, an d play their role as “Airstrip One”, here is a quote:

        «When NATO was set up in 1948, the commander of the United States air force who arrived in Britain with the advance guard of the American forces to be stationed here said: “Never before in history has one first-class power gone into another first-class power’s country without any agreement. We were just told to come over and ‘We shall be pleased to have you’.”»

        It is not a bad deal overall: for small countries like England, France, Italy, Spain, Poland it is inevitable to be subordinate to some continental power or another, and being USA satellites has the advantage of being allowed to run an export surplus with the USA, whose elites want to reduce wages by way of international competition (but only from protectorates).

        «He saicd, “no, we give the politicians bags full of money. They belong to us. They answer to us.”’»

        That is very well known in most USA protectorates, and it was also how the roman, chinese, moghul, english empires were managed and bribery won many battles. That USA ambassadors and the CIA and the Pentagon have large “black” funds and are generous to the people they “sponsor” is one of the things that newbie politicians learn fast in USA protectorates, plus there are various programmes like the “British-American Project for the Successor Generation” (and many earlier ones) that of course are much bigger versions of the Rhodes programmes that had the same role in the English Empire.

    • james

      how many hundreds of years have you been standing up to the british empire bully martinned?? i am sure you were right out front…

    • Wikikettle

      This is how the FBI works to stitch Julian and countless others up. Truth always comes out eventually, years later…and sometimes from the perpetrators. I hope the alphabet women have have just one in their number to speak out.

      • Tom Welsh

        That’s an interesting thought! If one of them did speak out publicly, would she be punished for outing the others? (Or even herself? In the world of “Alice in Wonderland”, anything is conceivable).

        • Wikikettle

          Tom Welsh. Yes looks like the Cretins have a new angle via jigsaw id to restrict reporting of lies of prosecution witnesses. Next get rid of jury’s. Great to see and hear Craig on Chris Hedges programme.

    • zoot

      if the law means anything this should be the end of it. but they have already ridden so roughshod over the law in this case. (cia burglary, rape frameup, etc). i hope this is the final straw that breaks it.

  • Tom74

    I don’t get the feeling that things have gone to plan for the US with covid and much else. So this Russia set-to could indeed be sabre-rattling via their vassal the UK, as the article sets out. But another possibility is that the UK or the UK government are actually the target here as much as Russia; in other words, it’s a bit of ritual humiliation or showing who is boss, possibly in revenge for not following the covid script closely enough (see also the Hancock situation) or indeed general peevishness at the whole narrative more or less collapsing into public indifference. A further possibility is that, with this jingoistic escapade, the British peoples as a whole are being gaslighted by a government that has lost its ability to frighten the public into submission. Quite likely it is some combination of those and more.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      “it’s a bit of ritual humiliation or showing who is boss,”

      So who is the boss then?

  • Ryan

    Two days before the incident in the news, spoofed AIS radio positions for the the British and Netherlands ships in question indicated a track from Odessa to Sevastopol (21 June). By spoofed, I means that the tracks falsely indicated that the ships were moving while they were in fact moored. The trip to Sevastopol would of course have been highly provocative. It is unknown whether these transmissions were accidental, although that’s highly unlikely. It shows with extreme likelihood that the provocation was planned in some detail.

      • zoot

        there isn’t much to be said. maybe just that ryan is also a big believer in the logic of lady dorrian.

      • SA

        Was it cyberdeception?

        “Russian military reports also suggest the British, with Dutch, NATO and Ukrainian participation in Odessa, attempted a cyber deception exercise several days before the June 23 operation. “Tracking data on [the Defender’s] location, as well as the coordinates of the Dutch frigate Evertsen… were falsified after both ships entered Odessa on June 18. On the night of June 19, the receiving station in nearby Chernomorsk [formerly Illichivsk, Ukraine] suddenly began transmitting distorted data about these ships to the service of the Automatic Identification System (AIS). According to these data, Defender and Evertsen left Odessa shortly before midnight on June 18 and headed directly towards Sevastopol, the main base of the Black Sea Fleet. In fact, the ships did not leave the port of Odessa, as evidenced by live broadcasts from webcams on YouTube. Fake coordinates for the geolocation of NATO ships in the AIS system were sent to the aggregator MarineTraffic.com and other similar sources. Thus, an imaginary route was drawn on the AIS screen, which, however, three days later Defender repeated in reality.”

        For a good perspective of the whole propagandistic purpose of the episode try this:


    • Ryan

      By provocation, I meant provocation on the part of the NATO forces. Given that there were NATO SIGINT aircraft and UAVs circling, it’s likely that the spoofed track was meant to test the Russian response. This was not a routine passage.

  • bevin

    Moon of Alabama elaborates on Craig’s legal arguments (link):

    “…The British government insists that Crimea still belongs to the Ukraine and that the Ukraine had allowed it to pass through its territorial waters. It calls Russia’s presence on Crimea an occupation. It supports the view of the Ukrainian government which insist that it alone can regulate the water areas around Crimea.

    “That view is wrong.

    “Prof. Dr. Stefan Talmon LL.M. M.A is the Director at the Institute of Public International Law at the University of Bonn. On May 4 he had published a legal opinion on the legality of the zones Russia had declared. On the above point he noted (emph. added):

    “Ukraine protested the Russian announcement, inter alia, on the ground that Russia was not the “coastal State” with regard to the territorial sea surrounding the “temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.” According to the Ukrainian Government:

    “These actions of the Russian Federation constitute another attempt to usurp Ukraine’s sovereign rights of a coastal state in violation of the norms and principles of international law, as Ukraine is in fact endowed with the right to regulate the navigation in these water areas of the Black Sea.”

    “The UN General Assembly condemned “the ongoing temporary occupation” of Crimea and urged the Russian Federation to “uphold all of its obligations under applicable international law as an occupying Power”. This raises the question of whether as an “occupying Power” the Russian Federation could temporarily suspend the innocent passage of foreign ships in the territorial sea of the occupied Crimean Peninsula. Occupation also extends to the occupied State’s territorial waters (internal waters and territorial sea) to the extent that effective control is established over the adjacent land territory. Under the law of armed conflict, the occupant may take measures to ensure “public order and safety” in the occupied territory, including its territorial waters. In particular, the occupying Power may take measures “to ensure the security of the Occupying Power, of the members and property of the occupying forces or administration, and likewise of the establishments and lines of communication used by them.” Under the laws of armed conflict, the occupying power has the right to suspend in all or in parts of the territorial sea of the occupied territory the innocent passage of foreign ships, if it considers it necessary for imperative reasons of security.

    “In determining whether such suspension is necessary, the occupying power enjoys a wide margin of discretion.

    “Even if Britain does not recognize that Crimea is Russian it still has to recognize that Russia, as the ‘occupying power,’ can regulate the traffic in the territorial waters of Crimea:

    “During the ongoing armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine the law of the sea is at least partly supplanted by the law of armed conflict and, in particular, the law of occupation. Germany and other States cannot consider Russia to be an occupying Power in Crimea and, at the same time, deny it the rights that come with that status.

    There is precedence for Russia’s move of which the British government is likely well aware of:

    “[O]n 2 May 2004, the United States, acting as an occupying Power in Iraq, issued a notice to mariners establishing with immediate effect a 2,000-metre exclusion zone around the Khawr Al’Amaya and Al Basra oil terminals in the Persian Gulf and temporarily suspended “the right of innocent passage […] in accordance with international law around [these] oil terminals within Iraqi territorial waters.”

    That zone was continued until at least February 2006.

    Prof. Talmon discusses various other arguments against Russia’s declared zones. He finds that the zones are legal under all aspects of international law.

    ‘Ukraine has no right to interfere in the restrictions that Russia, which in the Ukrainian and British view is an occupying power, has posed on the territorial waters of Crimea. Russia has suspended the ‘right of innocent passage’ in those zones and the British destroyer acted illegally when it passed through them.

    “Professor Talmon published his legal analysis seven weeks before the HMS Defender incident. It is thus free from any undue influence….”

    • giyane


      This legal analysis must mean that the occupying power in the case of the coastline of Gaza is perfectly within its rights to shoot anything on the beaches or in the sea that it deems to be a threat to security. Maybe one should take the analysis with a pinch of sea.

    • Tom Welsh

      It should be difficult for the West to condemn Russia’s status as “occupying power” in Crimea while Israel has been occupying Palestine for 73 years, the USA has been occupying… well, the mind whirls, but one can mention at least Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as bits and pieces of many other nations. (On the “sniper principle” that it is often better to injure than to kill, as it causes more cost and disruption).

      One could also suggest that certain whole nations have been occupying their territory for even longer than Israel, at the expense of the indigenous peoples who have been either reduced to a handful or entirely exterminated.

  • Tatyana

    Instead of resurrecting your zombies and setting them on Russia, I propose to look with unclouded eyes at the real state of affairs in the Crimea with the Tatars. Today.

    “The head of the regional national-cultural autonomy of the Crimean Tatars, Eyvaz Umerov, urged President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky not to harbor illusions about the return of Crimea.
    In addition, he suggested that the Ukrainian leader take care of his compatriots, fight against the growing nationalism, and also preserve the remaining borders of the state.

    Umerov recalled that while Zelensky on social networks “once again shares the bitterness of deportation,” more than 300 thousand Crimean Tatars are holding mourning events and prayers in mosques, as well as laying flowers at monuments and memorials.
    “None of the presidents of Ukraine could rehabilitate our people and recognize them as indigenous on the peninsula, unlike the leader of Russia. The Crimeans have never regretted returning to Russia,” he stressed.

    Earlier, Zelensky said that Kiev is doing everything to protect the rights of the offended and return the peninsula. His statement was timed to the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Deportation of the Peoples of Crimea, which traditionally falls on May 18.

    the article also says:

    “During the Great Patriotic War, representatives of 20 nationalities were subjected to forced deportation from Crimea on suspicion or charges of high treason.
    After Crimea and Sevastopol became part of Russia, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the rehabilitation of the Armenian, Bulgarian, Greek, Crimean Tatar and German peoples and state support for their revival and development.”

    This para doesn’t cover all the legal acts to restore the Tatars. Restoration began before the collapse of the USSR and then Crimea was part of Ukraine for 23 years. We discussed it already




  • Tatyana

    I asked my husband what he thinks of the British involvement in the incident.
    Interestingly enough, he replied, “I assume that during the Ukrainian coup, secret agreements were created that would transfer control of Crimea to the West. So Britain believes that it is protecting its property. The transfer of Crimea to Russian jurisdiction violated the plan and annoys the West terribly.”

    Earlier I asked his opinion about the consequences for Russia. For example, can Turkey prohibit Russian ships from crossing the Bosphorus?
    To this question, my husband answered quite sarcastically:
    “If Turkey tries to do such a trick, then a couple of our missiles will expand this channel to an acceptable size, well, just so that everyone has enough space for passage.”

    • Tom Welsh

      Tatyana, such robust measures would not be necessary (unless perhaps in case of war). The Montreux Convention states, among other things, that

      “Non-Black-Sea powers willing to send a vessel must notify Turkey 8 days prior of their sought passing. Also, no more than nine foreign warships, with a total aggregate tonnage of 15,000 tons, may pass at any one time. Furthermore, no single ship heavier than 10,000 tonnes can pass. An aggregate tonnage of all non-Black Sea warships in the Black Sea must be no more than 30,000 tons (or 45,000 tons under special conditions), and they are permitted to stay in the Black Sea for no longer than twenty-one days”

      The Convention has been agreed upon and adhered to since 1936, and there seems no reason why it should be changed or cease to operate. Note that the Convention places very few restrictions on states (such as Russia) with Black Sea coasts; mostly it limits the number and size of foreign warships allowed to enter the Black Sea (and how long they may stay there). The 30,000 ton aggregate rule severely constrains the scale of any NATO naval exercises in the Black Sea. An American “Arleigh Burke” class destroyer, for instance, displaces at least 8,000 tons – so no more than three of them would be allowed in at a time, provided no other foreign warships entered.

    • Wikikettle

      Tatyana, your husband no doubt remembers the Soviet period when its leadership talked about a few nukes doing the job. Istandul is either side of the Bosphorus and one of the biggest and populated cities in the world as he knows. A new canal threatens the Montreaux Convention, which allows huge vessels to pass free of charge unlike Suez and restricts warships to benefit Russia. It also benefits Erdogans relatives who own the land around the huge project. It would also allow aircraft carriers to enter the Black Sea. A big confrontation will happen if Turkey says the Convention does not apply to the new canal. The residents of Istandul don’t want it.

    • CasualObserver

      Russia being a littoral state of the Black sea, has the right of unimpeded passage through the Bosphorus, this being due to the Montreux Convention of 1936. Non littoral nations have to give advance notice to claim passage, and warships of such nations are subject to limits on the duration of their stay. Also Aircraft Carriers are strictly banned.

      Interestingly the convention was upheld even during the Second World War, denying Germany access to the Black Sea via the Bosphorus. They had to use the Danube to get E Boats as close as possible, finishing the journey by stripping the vessels down and placing them on rather large trucks.

      It’s also of interest that Erdogan has no intention of reneging on the Convention, given his plans to commit Turkey to the expense of building a canal parallel to the Bosphorus in order to bypass the Convention.

    • Bayard

      “I assume that during the Ukrainian coup, secret agreements were created that would transfer control of Crimea to the West. So Britain believes that it is protecting its property. The transfer of Crimea to Russian jurisdiction violated the plan and annoys the West terribly.”

      That may have been the whole point of the coup, to gain control of Sevastopol. Second Crimean War, here we come!

    • Ryan

      They didn’t deny that the shots were fired (four of them). They claimed that they had received prior notification from Russian forces of a gunnery exercise. However, anyone who believes that the NATO warships were notified of an exercise with live ammunition and then decided to chart a course through the area is considerably more gullible than is good for them.

      • Tatyana

        “No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender.
        The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.”
        “We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior-warning of their activity.

        No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.”


        • David G

          I think they may be playing some silly word game to impress I-know-not-whom: no warning shots were fired “at” the ship … because they were *warning shots*, by definition not aimed “at” anybody.

          But I join you in your initial question: why is the UK downplaying the Russian response? Why, for that matter, is Moscow possibly exaggerating it, since I don’t think they’ve released any proof that bombs were dropped?

          Even on a propaganda level, I don’t understand the intention.

    • Tatyana

      That FSB guy in the video is getting multiple HaHas from the russian commenters, because of his hard russian accent 🙂
      Someone hears in the video “British warship, British warship, I am Russian warship. Change your course to Starbucks, or I’ll be fired” 🙂

  • Mike Davies

    Anyone seen this ?

    “Classified Ministry of Defence documents containing details about HMS Defender and the British military have been found at a bus stop in Kent.

    One set of documents discusses the likely Russian reaction to the ship’s passage through Ukrainian waters off the Crimea coast on Wednesday…”

    From the BBC’s website here : https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57624942

    • Republicofscotland


      It reads to me as deliberate planting of the materials, and released to the BBC by someone who knew what to do to get the UK’s point of view out to the public, and to keep the emphasis on Russia as the bad guys and the UK and the Ukraine as the good guys in all of this.

      To me this paragraph gives the game away.

      “It was certainly the use of a warship in pursuit of diplomatic goals. But its primary objective was not to “poke the Russian bear” (a phrase and sentiment conspicuously absent from the documents). This was all about freedom of navigation and a clear endorsement of Ukraine’s sovereignty, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.”

      • laguerre

        We don’t actually know yet precisely what is in the documents. The BBC will always protect the government in its commentaries – commentary is what you quote.

      • Giyane


        Yes , it was lies, propaganda and disintegrity disinitiative, but was it breaking social distancing rules at the bus stop which would have been a resigning matter? The story has now been re-leaked in an open street, circumnavigating this unavoidable waterline rock. Britannia rules.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Classified Ministry of Defence documents containing details about HMS Defender and the British military have been found at a bus stop in Kent”.

      Because major cheeses from the MoD always DO travel by bus. By the way, I hear the Kerch Bridge can be purchased for a surprisingly modest sum.

      • Jo

        Maybe the person actually had read this or become aware of this via intelligence before Tass published and either panicked or realised MoD had gone insane…..in any case they have lost their job.

        SEVASTOPOL, June 22. /TASS/. The Black Sea Fleet’s coastal defense missile systems practiced eliminating a notional enemy’s warships during drills in Crimea, the Fleet’s press office reported on Tuesday. “The teams of Bal and Bastion mobile coastal defense anti-ship missile systems from the Black Sea Fleet’s missile and artillery formation held drills to eliminate a notional enemy’s surface ship in the Black Sea,” the press office said in a statement. At the first stage of the drills, the teams of the missile systems stationed in Crimea conducted a march to the positioning area, equipped and camouflaged positions. Following this, they readied the launchers, detected a surface target, identified it and locked on it, the statement says. “In the course of the exercise, the troops practiced the algorithm of measures to deliver missile strikes against a notional enemy’s warship by electronic launches. A ship of the Black Sea Fleet simulated the notional enemy’s warship in the drills,” the press office added…..”

        • Jo

          Or even on the Monday when Raab raised questions knew of it when the final meeting to approve took place….but Bojo decided to take a chance anyways hoping Russia would be trigger happy so the Nato fleet could instantly respond and claim victory….Ukraine would be delighted to.prove Russia an agressor…..instant Nato membership..Zelensky justified to attack Crimea and Donbass….Biden finally releases latest 150m funds…EU sanctions proven and Macron Merkel latest raprochement Russia summit nullified…Biden proves Russia is a new hot war and revives economy and Democrats…etc.
          This is what makes sense to me. Russia has been very very clever in its restraint…..but controlled persistence.

    • mark golding

      Strange way to communicate with an ally, friend, partner USA. Poodle Britain was pushed, pressured at Northwood to engage with the Ukrainian government by way of “Op Ditroite” in a heated high level exchange that included UK special forces remaining in a perilous Afghanistan.

      BTW ships armaments are never covered at sea esp. the forward turret and the helicopter is also docked in the hanger when the ship is under way unless a naval exercise or comms training mission is occuring.

  • Laguerre

    And now – what a hoot – the classified British battle plan has been found scattered in the street and handed to the BBC. Yes, I know it’s not strictly a battle plan, but it is in effect. It was all prepared in advance, and discussed at high level, before being being executed. Not as though we didn’t know, but now it’s there in black and white.

    • laguerre

      Even better, the documents were found on Tuesday *before* the event took place!

      • michael norton

        Yes, we should not forget Yulia and where she is being held, perhaps she was lashed to mast of Defender and made to stick two fingers up to Sevastopol, as they passed.

  • John

    The illegal government in Kiev has strayed over the red line by going along with this. It is long past time it was gone from history.

    • amanfromMars

      Rogue Pirates and Privatised Public Civilianised Renegades, John ‽ . As to their Ultimate Purpose and AIMission Gain? Absolute Almighty IntelAIgent COSMIC Command and Control?

      Can’t fault them for Testing Exercise in that Universal Force/Immaculate Source. Bravissimo. Hello and Welcome. Has anyone any suitable plans to freely share for consideration of Virtual Realisation and Mass Multimedia Streaming with Presentations for Assessment and ACTive Stealthy AIDeployments.

      Do Global Systems/SCADA Executive Administrations recognise and realise such is a Great Friend and Terrific Foe …… and well worth Blessed Engagement and Open Enjoyment? Be assured they are even should YMMV and Fork into Strange Times and Spaces along that Root.

      Ancient Highland Clan Chieftain Type Terrain, Craig ….. Justifying/Trailing and Trialing AWEsome ProgramMING for Higher Command of Deeper Upcoming Downstream Events. Black Watch Territory ….. ACTive Areas of Advanced IntelAIgent Interest[s].

      Something for the MoD to deny so that you may it is true. 🙂 Or admit is one theirs on AIMaster Pilot Stealthy Covert Manoeuvres to Surprise, to surprise and probably unnecessarily worry to death more than just themselves, takes thing in an altogether different immediate direction listening for and following Novel Enlightening Instruction Sets with Illuminating Scripts/Study Manuals/Secret Safe Secure Source providing New Beginnings to/for/from All.

      • amanfromMars

        And with particular targeted regard to any possible UKGBNI MoD denial to such as is shared and declared here to be honest and true, you might like to include consideration of the following tale which appears to support it, thus rendering any possible denial futile and a cause for valid concern and deep worry and further investigation ……

        One of the presentations contained in the trove of classified documents noted that contact between Russian and British forces in the area have largely been “unremarkable” but that, “following the transition from defence engagement activity to operational activity, it is highly likely that… interactions will become more frequent and assertive.” …… https://www.rt.com/russia/527705-uk-classified-documents-crimea-naval-incursion/

        …… for it suggests more the pursuit of a direction which is misleading one into the throes and halls of certifiable madness rather than anywhere else more wholesome and laudable to be globally applauded.

  • remember kronstadt

    I refer you to the National Anthem, and t’aint no blue rinse, ruling the waves baby!

      • Wikikettle

        Good to see and hear Craig talking to Chris Hedges on In Contact RT America.

        • Anthony

          So good.
          Here it is .. “Judicial Lynching”
          RT America – Judicial Lynching – YouTube (24m 39s)

          On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, who was removed from his post after he made public the widespread use of torture by the Uzbek government and the CIA.

          Murray has since become one of Britain’s most important human rights campaigners, a fierce advocate for Julian Assange and a supporter of Scottish independence. His coverage of the trial of former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, who was acquitted of sexual assault charges, saw him charged with contempt of court and sentenced to eight months in prison. The very dubious sentence, which upends most legal norms, was delivered, his supporters argue, to prevent him from testifying as a witness in the Spanish criminal case against UC Global Director David Morales who is being prosecuted for allegedly installing a surveillance system in the Ecuadorean Embassy when Julian Assange found refuge that was used to record the privileged communications between Assange and his lawyers. Morales is alleged to have carried out this surveillance for the CIA.

  • Antonym

    “Top secret MoD dossier is found at BUS STOP: Member of public finds 50 classified pages about Russian threat to HMS Defender ahead of Black Sea trip”

    One document shows that the Royal Navy’s Type-45 destroyer was ordered to sail close to disputed territorial waters off the coast of Russia-annexed Crimea in eastern European to make a show of support for Ukraine in the expectation that Moscow could respond with force.

    Obviously deliberately, probably by a sane civil servant.

    • Wikikettle

      Johnson was prepared to risk the lives of our sailors to show UK is still an Imperial force in world affairs. With the EU, France and Germany even US wanting to pull back from a war on two fronts and concentrate on China. Even the ex chief of staff says he can’t sleep at night. I feel another meeting of the 22 coming along.

  • Stevie Boy

    And what’s common in all of this ? The BBC – the regime mouthpiece. Inside job ?

    • Ingwe

      Stevie Boy-what do you think? Is it likely that, if it was anything other than a propaganda plant, it would make headline news on the godawful BBC and the MSM?

      • Jo

        I get a feeling that BBC is getting back at MoD for that denial that not much took place and subsequent that kinda devalued the BBC journo on board and making him look a charlie ….when UK gov has increased funding to beeb for extending propaganda and its Foreign Office plans and shennanegins as revealed recently by anonymous. Plus maybe of course beeb wants to make a second warship tv series about UK-Russia and the Black Sea.

        • Wikikettle

          Be good to see Craig on the Jimmy Dore show next and the Grayzone with Aaron Mate’ and Max Blumenthal.

      • Stevie Boy

        Distractions, distractions – don’t look here, look over there !
        What obscenity is the government cooking up while the remnants of the RN sail up and down and Handcock has his tongue stuck up his assistant ?
        What are they trying to sneak through in this chaff rich environment ?

  • michael norton

    This is quite strange, like it is all set up as a smoke screen for another development that we don’t know about – yet.

    “One set of documents discusses the likely Russian reaction to the ship’s passage through Ukrainian waters off the Crimea coast on Wednesday.

    Another details plans for a possible UK military presence in Afghanistan after the US-led Nato operation there ends.

    The government said an investigation had been launched.

    The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it is investigating “an incident in which sensitive defence papers were recovered by a member of the public”.


    I do not know who is fooling who
    but it is working
    I am baffled

  • Coldish

    Another analysis of this event, which comes to similar conclusions as Craig, is to be found at thesaker blog. See thesaker.is/sailing-into-black-sea-trouble-the-right-of-innocent-passage-with-some-caveats-of-course/
    The writer, Nat South, expects worse trouble for any NATO warship that tries to repeat the same trick.

  • Tatyana

    Thank you! Seems like common reply is ‘your help is much appreciated’. I do appreciate your help, but I don’t want to use common schemed reply 🙂

    Dear Mods, let’s me speak from my heart (©) Mutko. Thank you for your reply!

  • mark golding

    Royal Navy Captain gets a bollocking a verbal admonishment and associated dossier over the actions of a British Daring-class air-defence destroyer.


    The British Military attache has been informed of the position of the Russian Defense Ministry in connection with the incident in the Black Sea with the destroyer “Defender”.

    The dangerous actions of the British Navy destroyer are regarded by the Russian Defense Ministry as a gross violation of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

    The Russian military department called on the British side to conduct a thorough investigation of the actions of the crew of the destroyer Defender to prevent similar incidents in the future.

    Today, the Defense Attache at the British Embassy in Moscow was summoned to the Main Department of International Military Cooperation of the Russian Ministry of Defense.

    The representative of the British armed Forces was informed of the position of the Russian military department in connection with the violation of the State Border of the Russian Federation in the Black Sea by the destroyer URO of the British Navy on June 23.

    The British side indicated that the British destroyer Defender operating in the northwestern part of the Black Sea today violated the State Border of the Russian Federation and entered the territorial sea near Cape Fiolent, having gone three kilometers deeper.

    The destroyer was previously warned about the possible use of weapons in the event of continued illegal presence in the territorial waters of the Russian Federation.

    The crew of the British destroyer did not respond to obvious warning signals in accordance with maritime law, and therefore the Russian patrol ship was forced to perform a warning fire.

    As an additional warning, the Russian Su-24M aircraft performed a warning bombing along the course of the British destroyer.

    The Russian military have warned that a recurrence will invoke targeting the intruder(s) directly with live bombs.

    • Tom Welsh

      “The dangerous actions of the British Navy destroyer are regarded by the Russian Defense Ministry as a gross violation of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea”.

      Of which the United States government is notoriously NOT a signatory.

      “One law for all you proles, and another for us”.

    • bevin

      This is obviously a major development.
      But it is no surprise – the witness’s dishonesty and corruptibility has been common knowledge for those following this case. What is significant is that the witness, after years on the imperialist payroll, seems to have broken with his fellow conspirators – the US agents who concocted his ‘story’ and ensured that it was given publicity while protecting it and its narrator from cross examination and critical evaluation from an imaginary Free Press.
      The ‘witness’ “Teenager” is far less culpable than the government agents who suborned him, corrupting him and threatening him in order to perpetrate an obvious injustice.
      No doubt in the fulness of time the young ladies – who allowed the Swedish state, its US allies and such ornaments to British manhood as Keir Starmer, to get away with the ‘rape’ tales that our media so much enjoyed trading in. will cleanse themselves by telling the truth about how they were involved in the conspiracy.
      The Assange case is a reminder that one of the constants in our society is the industrial-scale lying of an army of state agents, from bellingcat to the trolls who pretend to believe the Novichok stories.

    • Xavi

      Amazingly this is probably a lesser revelation in terms of collapsing the case compared to the bugging, etc. The question now is whether the USG does genuinely believe in the rule of law, as they always trumpet, and are honourable enough to finally abandon their appeal. Or are they vengeful psychopaths determined to inflict even crueler punishment on this truthteller for the rest of his life? And what about Baraitser, has she been a stickler for due process and adhering to legal norms?

      • Tom Welsh

        “The question now is whether the USG does genuinely believe in the rule of law…”

        An important question, which belongs alongside other questions such as “is the sky bright green at night?” and “what kind of cheese is the Moon made of?”

        Of course they don’t believe in the rule of law – genuinely or otherwise. Except, of course, as a carefully biased mechanism to punish their enemies and let their friends go free with impunity.

    • Tom Welsh

      Note that “Teenager”‘s false evidence was deliberately procured by the FBI paying him $5,000.

      It seems to be the normal practice of the US government to pay criminals for “evidence” which is then used to convict innocent people.

      As I recollect, the chief (only?) witness against Abdul Baset al-Megrahi was paid some colossal sum ($1 million?) by the US government to “remember”, after several years of insistently denying that he ever saw the accused, that he had bought certain items that supposedly linked him to the Lockerbie bombing.

      Eye witnesses (police officers) saw Americans searching the area near Lockerbie where the aircraft fell before the British authorities arrived on the scene.

      I wonder what they had to hide?

  • michael norton

    So as we learn that papers of D36 deployment off the Crimea were left in a bus shelter, in Kent, before these “adventures”
    perhaps we can assume that Russia and the U.K. had agreed to “dance” off Crimea.

    What I am suggesting is, that in some way the U.K. signalled the intention to sail Defender inshore, close to Crimea, to Russia
    and Russia agreed to be surprized and reply with moderation.
    Both sides looking tuff but nobody getting over-excited apart from the BBC?

    • Bayard

      It’s entirely possible that all the Russia-baiting and China-baiting is as rigged as a wrestling match. One side gets to look good at being tough and aggressive and the other gets to look good being tough and defensive. Everybody gets something to talk about and to take their minds off trouble at home. No-one gets hurt, except when there’s a cock-up. What’s not to like?

  • Tatyana

    I have to thank Mr. Beale of BBC for providing the video. You have such attractive young people on the ships there! Mr. Dorrington, lieutenant, very handsome 🙂
    I noticed that there was one feature in the appearance of British sailors, before they covered their faces with white balaclavas. They have a blush on their cheeks.
    I would like to ask British mothers how they feed their sons to achieve such a healthy complexion?
    I’m not silly, but curious.

    • DunGroanin

      That’s the first flush of summer for these deprived of sunshine on our cloudy island that you describe.

      If they had been in the sun for a few weeks they would have tans set in.

      • Tatyana

        I’m sure I noticed the same red cheeks on singers at “Britain’s got talent”. A very cute blush. On some British actors, too. Freddie Highmore and Thomas Brodie-Sangster

        • DunGroanin

          Ah I see – the bbc make-up crew went along too! That’s real public service.

          • Tatyana

            Haha, I like your interpretation! Though I didn’t mean that. Mine was sincere question.
            I think I should be more serious and less sarcastic commenting here.
            We believe that porridge, fish and chips, and tea are common food in Britain. Pudding. Boiled eggs you eat with a spoon.

    • Jimmy Riddle

      Tatyana – if you want to know about the Royal Navy, you should watch the movie `Querelle de Brest’ by Jean Genet.

      This will tell you everything you need to know about sailor boys.

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