Ukraine – The Obligations Edition

A number of people have flagged these up to me, some interesting Ukraine related agreements and treaty issues;

First, the Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreux_Convention_Regarding_the_Regime_of_the_Straits

This defines a set of rules by which nations must adhere in their use of the  Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles, especially for transiting warships.

Istambul_and_Bosporus_big

Second, the Budapest Memorandum regarding the Ukraine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest_Memorandum_on_Security_Assurances

In fact, there were three Memorandums, signed in December 1994.

One of the three Budapest Memorandums of 5 December 1994; was signed by the Presidents of Ukraine, Russian Federation and United States of America, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in connection with the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. It provided national security assurances to Ukraine on behalf of those countries. Later, China and France joined its provisions in the form of individual statements. The Joint Declaration by the Russian Federation and the United States of America of 4 December 2009 confirmed the security guarantees for Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine that were set out in the Budapest Memorandums of 5 December 1994

On this second one, I think there has been some typically shrill reporting with selective quoting of the conditions but the text places no obligations on any party to intervene.It requires the signatories to respect the Ukraine’s sovereignty but does not provide a guarantee of response like article 5 of the NATO Charter.

The memorandum contained 6 conditions

1. The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and  Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE  [Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe]  Final Act, to respect the Independence and Sovereignty  and the existing borders of Ukraine.

2. The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defense or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

3. The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and  Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind.

4. The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used.

5. The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm, in the case of the Ukraine, their commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, except in the case of an attack on themselves, their territories or dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies, by such a state in association or alliance with a nuclear weapon state.

6.The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will consult in the event a situation arises which raises a question concerning these commitments.

There is also some debate whether it is binding under international law.

The full text of the Memorandum can be found here

Ukraine-2010-Election

 

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Red Trousers
Red Trousers
March 1, 2014 12:31 pm

None of us can predict the future, but I believe it is not unlikely that we will witness a partition of Ukraine, with the Crimea and some parts of the south east of the country being balkanised or incorporated into Russia proper. I suspect there would be local insurgencies by the 45% Ukrainians and Tatars, and from that, UN Resolutions which may or may not be vetoed by Russia.

Britain, as one of the four signatories has a moral interest. Perhaps 2014 will not be the first year in a century when our forces are not deployed, as has recently been suggested. We do Balkan-style Peace Keeping / Enforcement pretty well.

The two Bosporus bridges have a clearance of 64 metres, per Wiki. Aside from the Montreux Treaty obligations, it’s going to be a bit buttock clenching for any CO taking his boat past them. Gravity bombs?

Looks like an Andrew-less operation. Again.

Derek
Derek
March 1, 2014 12:52 pm

Russian adherence to treaties has always been sketchy, they tend to regard them as a means to an end rather than an end in themselves. They also don’t wrap themselves up illegal restraints in the way the west, especially the UK, now does.

The whole, Russia is not a regional security concern argument has taken a bit of a beating this week- not that it should have needed any further underscoring after the Georgia affair or the internal shenanigans that are a textbook tyranny. Of course, this will have no impact on UK security policy as the British elites approach to Russia is driven entirely by self-interest: Russian oligarchs buying up London property keep MPs London property portfolios both valuable and profitable and the BP-Rosneft JV is crucial to most MP’s share portfolios. The British political class also has about as much interest in such concepts as democracy and liberty as Vladimir Putin does (witness the attempts to impose the Leveson anti-free speech legislation on print media in a country where state owned and regulated media outlets already dominate online and TV news media).

In summary, Ukraine will probably be dismembered in Russia’s favour (the precise status of the pro-Russian provinces will be irrelevant- whether they become Russian vassal states or part of Russia is neither here nor there), Vladimir Putin’s ruthlessness, cynicism and impressive understanding of western corruption and self-induced weakness will triumph yet again and there will be no impact on British security policy. Meanwhile the world will continue to spin on its axis.

Derek
Derek
March 1, 2014 1:23 pm

TD,

I am afraid you have fallen for an establishment ruse. When BP extracted itself from the BP-TNK JV is did so by selling its 50% stake to Rosneft in return for a 20% stake in the latter. BP, and thus the British establishment, now have interests more closely intertwined with the Russian state that it did in the days of BP-TNK.

martin
Editor
March 1, 2014 1:30 pm

This is a worrying development and one that should not be lost of SDSR 2015. Putin has changed many of the fundamental assumptions of SDSR 2010.

That being said I am certainly not prepared to through it all in with Ukraine. Much as with the conflict in Georgia is is not that black and white. I have little understanding for failed states like Ukraine and to a lesser extent Spain that have central governments hell bent on maintaining their boarders irrespective of what the people living in those areas think.

The UK has set a shining example with the Scottish Referendum of how governments should act when faced with such self determination issues.

The fact is that areas like the Crimea probably should be Russian and I think at the very least the people in those regions should be entitled to a referendum. Although I am sure the same argument could easily have been applied to the Sudetanland or Danzig.

Removing the Russian parts of Ukraine would probably make the country more governable as well.

That being said this in no way excuses the actions of Putin who has rapidly become the most dangerous threat faced certainly be Europe and this is no way for a world power to behave.

I think at the very least the west should consider suspending Russia from the G8 which is bound to hit his ego. No doubt their will be reprisals and Russia will cut of the gas but in the longer term that is no bad thing as a) it will hit Russia in the pocket very hard and b) it will stop western Europe relying on these supplies with all the political weight that gives Putin. Unfortunately too many countries in western Europe have been prepared to bend over and take it from Russia for a bit of cheap gas and I don’t suddenly see anyone in mainland Europe developing a spine over Ukraine.

x
x
March 1, 2014 1:46 pm

..”a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing..”

“I’m not going to have my soldiers be responsible for starting World War III.”

Though I give Tim Marshall his due I was wrong I was assuming that Putin would be a bit more nuanced this time. But Obama is out of his depth, the EU spineless, and China don’t care so..

After WW2 didn’t the UK take a good chunk of an Ukrainian SS division?

as
as
March 1, 2014 2:23 pm

We have various Examples of how the world will react to Russia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_involving_Russia#Russian_Federation_.281991.E2.80.93present.29

They have been involved in a fair number of wars since 1991.
The main one being the Russia–Georgia war where the world made a lot of noise but the did nothing.

We sound very hypercritical on the self determination front when we did not support the Chechen and Dagestan in there fight for independence from Russia .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-Soviet_conflicts

It will al end with Crimea becoming part of Russia and Ukraine getting screwed by the international community.
Intern pushing them away from Europe and into Russia hands.

martin
Editor
March 1, 2014 2:35 pm

@ TD

“Its all about the gas.That is why Europe wont do anything”

Agreed, Its one of the key problems of NATO that the vast majority of its members don’t really hold to it’s ideals when push comes to shove and look to the USA and to a lesser extent the UK to solve their problems at their own cost.

It’s not dissimilar to what is happening in the South China Sea right now where none of the nations what to potentially lose Chinas business but they don’t want to give up the Island either and they are hoping uncle Sam will do it all for them.

Let the Ukraine Poland and Germany handle this one its their issue. We should offer support but limited to diplomatic, economic support.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
March 1, 2014 2:40 pm

I hope something like this has not influenced anyone’s decision into thinking that we need a coherent energy policy to reduce our reliance on external energy. After all this is just a one off, I don’t think the Russians would use energy as leverage in the daily dealings of their neighbours.

martin
Editor
March 1, 2014 2:51 pm

Just be reading about how Russia and Gazprom seem to have bought much of the EU through gas and energy deals not to mention political contributions in German and Italy.

With friends like these who needs enemies.

Frack baby Frack

x
x
March 1, 2014 2:52 pm

“I don’t think the Russians would use energy as leverage in the daily dealings of their neighbours.”

WiseApe
March 1, 2014 2:57 pm

I don’t know the background to those conventions – why were we a party to them? Anyway, promising to respect Ukraine’s borders is not a promise to defend said borders against someone who doesn’t respect them. Ukraine is not Belgium.

As for Russia’s actions – at least how they’re initially being reported in the west – did we expect anything else? Frankly, what would we have done differently in their place? Didn’t we rush Typhoons and a T45 to Cyprus when it looked like we may take action against Syria – don’t recall us asking anyone’s permission first. The locals may not have appreciated being put in the firing line.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
March 1, 2014 2:57 pm

How stupid and naive, do I feel right now? ;-)

martin
Editor
March 1, 2014 3:19 pm

@ Wise Ape

We were signatories to the treaty because it was part of the non proliferation treaty of which we are one of the five guarantors along with the other UNSC permanent members.

martin
Editor
March 1, 2014 3:22 pm

Does anyone think this could lead to some uncomfortable questions for Dave Cameron following his unilateral disarmament program or will he still talk about punching above our weight.

Could this be cause to reverse some of the cuts. Should we be looking at giving 20% of the army the boot next year?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 1, 2014 3:28 pm

@DN

Sometimes sarcasm is difficult on a blog :)

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
March 1, 2014 3:34 pm

@APATS,

You’re telling me! I think it’s got me into more trouble than I can remember ;-)

martin
Editor
March 1, 2014 3:34 pm

What does it say about Russian ‘Democracy’ that their Parliament just past an unanimous vote to deploy troops to Crimea. I can’t think of a proper parliament that could pass a unanimous vote on the existence of gravity.

Why maintain the façade

FinneyOnTheWing
FinneyOnTheWing
March 1, 2014 3:49 pm

Although Russia is less “civilised” and “discreet” about doing these kind of things I really think that they have a lot more justification for this than say us and the US gallivanting around the middle-east building freedom and wealth for all. The majority of citizens identify themselves are Russian, many others are half-Russian half-Ukrainian and fairly pro-Russian, and the democratically elected President Yanukovich got a majority of something like 70% there (yes he’s a massive crook but they still voted for him!).
To come up with a hopefully not too dissimilar parallel for the UK, imagine; for reasons clear to nobody, Harold Macmillan ceded Cumbria to Scotland in the 1950’s. Scotland had a referendum in the 1990’s and left the union, yet Cumbria remains very “English”. In 2010, Scotland elects a centre-right prime minister, with a more conciliatory tone towards the UK than the previous administration, Cumbria votes strongly for this man, who shall henceforth be known as “McMoneybags”. McMoneybags is overthrown/flees after a botched and bloody attempt to suppress protests by nationalists and radicals (later joined by many outraged ordinary folk) in Edinburgh. Scotland is in chaos as attempts are made to form a new government. Cumbria refuses to recognise the new leadership, declares temporary autonomy until a vote on the issue, and there are widespread pleas for the UK to assist/ensure security.

What would we do? Would we feel justified in sending in a military stabilisation force?
Would we feel that countries like France and Russia (closest analogies to the EU and US getting involved) should have any say in the matter?

Personally I feel that we would get very much involved, but what does everyone else think?
Also, from a purely military perspective, what are the biggest and most interesting vessels that could fit through the Bosporus if the treaty were to be ignored?

DJF
DJF
March 1, 2014 3:51 pm

The Memorandum is not a treaty in US legal sense since it was never put before the US Senate to get a 2/3 vote. So it has no force on US law and no obligation since a President signing such a memorandum has no legal force on future Presidents nor on the US as whole.

The NPT is a legal treaty but not this memorandum.

Don’t know how British law treats it.

Tubby
Tubby
March 1, 2014 4:21 pm

I think the key question is where will Russia stop – will they just annex the Crimea or will they put Yanukovych back in power (which some of their mood music suggests this is what they plan to do). If it they go with the later option then IMO we have a problem, as they will turn the Ukraine into a new Chechnya, and we will have a refugee crisis on our hands (given Ukraine’s proximity to EU member states).

x
x
March 1, 2014 5:46 pm

Hopefully well before the novelty rock emporium.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
March 1, 2014 5:52 pm

Bang on the nail @Tubby…if the Ukraine divides more or less peacefully into a more or less happy Westward facing area and a more or less happy Russian facing area, everybody will find a way to live with it…but it gets seriously tricky if there is fighting in the specifically pro-Polish component and the Poles themselves get drawn in…bearing in mind the fact that Poland are the NATO front line…

Who would have thought the twenty first century would start with Panzer Divisions on the Dnieper…really looking forward to Sven’s take on this…

A blackly humorous Gloomy

x
x
March 1, 2014 5:53 pm

@ FOTW

Well said. I think “we” sometimes struggle with the idea, let alone the practise, of robust action. Jaw, jaw not war, war is “our” MO now. The idea of proactively using soldiers isn’t something we are comfortable.

Apparently the Irish had plans to go into Ulster at the start of the Troubles.

The Russians have just as much right to do this as say the US going into Panama or invading Grenada

Mark
Mark
March 1, 2014 5:57 pm

I think this situation is a gd illustration of why you need to be careful exactly who you make treaties and obligations with, the ever East ward expansion of NATO and the EU being classic examples at some point you may need to make gd on your promises.

I was listening on the tv to a ww1 historian the other day and he said that world wars are started not by some big event between major nations but by the ability of small nations to manipulate bigger nations to start a chain of events that cannot be stopped.

“Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death, Rode the six hundred”. Cool heads must prevail call the Russians to get UN approval for there actions as they did with us in Syria.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 1, 2014 6:01 pm

@TD
“I thought the SDSR told us all those tanks, infantry brigades and fighters were so Cold War and the future was more agile thingies or somethings”

Some of them are for us, the current government is unpopular enough without trying to tell the Public that they are going to send troops to another failing state to try and prevent it splitting naturally along ethnic lines and according to the wishes of the population of half of that country and without a UN resolution.

Phil
March 1, 2014 6:12 pm

This place is going to get quiet when we’re called up or packed off to the Crimea. We’re fucked if we get stuck into this.

Repulse
March 1, 2014 6:18 pm

No chance of us putting boots on the ground, even if the SDSR had scrapped the RN and RAF. There is just no upside for us.

Get some international monitors on the ground and start equipping and training the Ukrainian armed forces. Next start imposing sanctions on Russia.

mike
mike
March 1, 2014 6:28 pm

It will be interesting to see how Ukraine’s armed forces react, I am unsure about their Army and Navy, but their Air Force is rather well equipped – importantly – trained.

That has been my main thought when I have seen such developments, their armed forces kept out of the protests – paramilitary and thugs excluded – but what about this? Rather quiet (media wise anyway).

Georgia showed to us how much a ‘paper tiger’ the Russian forces can be, like Georgia, this has rather quickly popped up again, I wonder what state of readiness are Russian forces this time, and if they applied the lessons of ’08 – presumably they have tier 1 (‘A class’) units in Crimea given its strategic importance, and the fact that the Ukrainians are a damned sight more well armed than Georgia was.

@ GNB

“Bang on the nail @Tubby…if the Ukraine divides more or less peacefully into a more or less happy Westward facing area and a more or less happy Russian facing area, everybody will find a way to live with it…”

The same was said with Korea… and Vietnam ;) Obviously, a modern partition is very different matter… but well, there are people living there who wouldn’t want that to happen. Interesting to see how this develops, and how we react to it – now and in 2015.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
March 1, 2014 6:31 pm

As far as I can tell from the news (not always reliable I know) the local population of the Crimea are not exactly demonstrating at the presence of Russian troops, as stated by some earlier as long as they refrain from going further I see no reason for us to get involved. And even then I think the Poles and Baltic states, coupled with the Slovaks would not mind too much going at it a for bit with the Russians, so still no real reason for us to get our boots muddy.

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 1, 2014 7:16 pm

In the still hypothetical position of there being a armed confrontation or standoff between Ukraine and Russia (or initially, their proxy gangs), which nations might volunteer peacekeepers? It’s difficult to see any NATO members doing so: too escalatory. After that, the question is open, but you’d have to wonder how effective any peace keeping force would be.

I’m surprised at the lack of reaction by the Ukrainians: although no doubt there is massive western pressure on them behind the scenes to not make things worse, at this rate they will simply abandon the Crimea and South Eastern parts of their country to a de facto Russian takeover. It is those parts of the country that powers their economy, and they need money. The western parts are predominantly agricultural.

as
as
March 1, 2014 7:45 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgian_Armed_Forces
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_of_Ukraine
When you are talking about the forces in this case I guess it comes down to motivation
Only some of the Georgians army was willing to fight the rest ran same with there air force and navy.
So it will come down to weather the Ukrainian forces will fight or run?
They are also having command and control problems with the forces in the Crimean not knowing who to take orders off. There MOD or the local parliament.
There is also the risk that some of the army would fight on the Russian side. Plus a lot of the Russian army is made up of Russian speaking Ukrainians (like southern Irish in the British army) .
The problems of a war in the Ukraine it is going to be massively complicated.

Daniel Hodges
Daniel Hodges
March 1, 2014 9:11 pm

I think this a watershed moment and we need to show putin that he can not do what he wants when he wants i am not talking a stright head to head but lets take a page out putins book and put the presure back on him and at the same time lets organise a exercise with our friends the poles may by a squdron of typhoons and tonks because if we don’t this could go down hill for us and the rest of europe very quickly

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
March 1, 2014 9:29 pm

Kiev trying not to make the same mistakes as Georgia:

“President Turchynov appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to “stop provocations and start negotiations”.

He said Russia was behaving as it did before sending troops into Georgia in 2008 over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which have large ethnic Russian populations.”

“They are implementing the scenario like the one carried out in Abkhazia, when after provoking a conflict, they started an annexation of the territory,” President Turchynov said.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26392958

“Russia has an overall military force of about 845,000 troops against Ukraine’s 130,000. Russia’s military spending is also vastly greater than Ukraine’s, $40.7bn last year compared with $1.4bn. But the Ukrainian forces are still formidable, better-trained, engaged over the last decade in international peacekeeping missions and established close contacts with western counterparts.”

“But a Russian takeover of the Crimea could turn out to be disastrous in the long run. The Kremlin would be underestimating the impact of the sizeable population of Tartars who were forcibly deported from the Crimea by Stalin in 1944 and not allowed to return until the beginning of Perestroika in the 1980s.

Sutyagin, who is at the London-based Royal United Services Institute, said: “The Tartars are very anti-Russian. They will do anything not to be under the Russians. They will be determined to fight for Ukraine. It would be a second Chechnya. There are a lot of mountains in Crimea, just as in Chechnya”.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/28/ukraine-military-russia-crimea

WiseApe
March 1, 2014 9:36 pm

According to the BBC Crimea is made up of 58.5% ethnic Russians and only 24.5% ethnic Ukrainians. The new Ukrainian parliament has voted to outlaw the Russian language. The provocation is not all one way.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 1, 2014 9:45 pm

@Wise Ape

I think we are pretty much all in agreement that Ukraine is at a crossroads and that given the ethnic demographics and its future Political direction being so polarising that it may be for the best for it to “split” in some way. If Russia had pointed this out and called for some sort of referendum we would have probably all been applauding.
However instead of this they have siezed air bases and local Government buildings, flown in extra troops and passed a parliamentary motion to deploy troop for operations throughout Ukraine until the “normalisation of the political situation in the country”. Now that could be read in a variety of ways but at least one of them is quite similar.
Now I do not believe we should get involved as long as the situation remains in the Crimea and the east of the country and does not spread or escalate to outright conflict.
However if Putin decides to take the entire country by force then we must be prepared to give him a bloody nose and show him where the line is.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
March 1, 2014 9:47 pm

Are any on anti piracy ops

http://www.flickr.com/photos/n-a-t-o/10607404916/

Fuck me that looks like the conversation has dried up!

WiseApe
March 1, 2014 9:48 pm

Perhaps Ukraine has suddenly come on the market for some tranche one Typhoons.

WiseApe
March 1, 2014 9:58 pm

@APATS – I do hope you’re not relying on Obama to uphold that line, especially if it is a red one. I wonder if Cameron is thinking – “I wish we hadn’t slashed our armed forces all across NATO.” Still, not to worry, that Franco-German rapid reaction force is probably swinging into action as we type.

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 1, 2014 10:01 pm

APATS,

I don’t imagine Putin wants the whole country: that puts Russia right up against emerging Eastern European countries / the EU. But equally taking Crimea alone gives him supply problems if Ukraine seals the neck of Crimea. So I think a partial operation, taking a land section from Russia through SE Ukraine (which are also pro-Russian, and where the heavy industry is).

But that’s bloody bad news for everyone, if that’s what he wants. Hope I’m wrong. :(

x
x
March 1, 2014 10:04 pm

There is a bridge that goes from Crimean peninsula across to Russia. And I have heard of a technology called shipping……..

x
x
March 1, 2014 10:09 pm

http://www.map.hu/galeria/20090118195134.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerch

Sorry, not a bridge, just a very narrow channel with good road links.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
March 1, 2014 10:25 pm

TD they were probably reading RT’s comments on the ‘great carrier conundrum’ thread and trying to formulate an answer ;-)

as
as
March 1, 2014 10:36 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerch_Strait_Bridge
There is a bridge planned. There is current connection is by ferry between Port Kavkaz and Port Krym.

If they tried to blockade the Crimea the Russians would be quite capable of launching an air and sea bridge.
They have lots of cargo aircraft and lots of transport ship.

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 1, 2014 10:39 pm

X, yes I saw that 2 mile channel. But it’s a bit single point of failure, and IMO not adequate or sustainable to keep a whole Peninsula fed/supplied.

Russia, for all of its’ faults, does not do penny packet interventions. In my opinion, if it really wants Crimea, it has to hold Eastern Ukraine as well. There are many ethnic Russians there as well, probably more than in Crimea although possibly not the concentration.

The current situation (Russia holding the Crimea, but not the land routes to Russia proper) is IMO unsustainable in the long run. Either Russia goes the full push to take Eastern Ukraine and hold it, or it backs down and loses Crimea forever.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 1, 2014 10:48 pm

@RT

So a 2 mile wide channel with good communications on the Russian side and the deep water Ports in the Crimea itself which can link into communications links like the Danube are not sufficient to feed and supply the Peninsula. Damn let us evacuate Islands the world over :)
Of course that also assumes that the rest Of the Ukraine imposes a land blockade.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
March 1, 2014 10:48 pm

I’d like to believe that the one good thing likely to come out of this is that the growing tendency across the West to conduct foreign and defence policy on the basis of wishful thinking of every possible variety might finally be reversed….

I’d like to, but I don’t…being Gloomy

x
x
March 1, 2014 10:50 pm

@ RT

I think its doable. The Russians’ hold all the cards.

I bet there are civil engineers and architects dusting off plans as we speak.

jedibeeftrix
March 1, 2014 10:56 pm

1. A referendum first establishes that the a majority appproves the possibility of of partiition in principle.

2. Predicated on the success of the first; that a second referendum to is held to identify parts of the countries that wish to secede.

the principle of free association; even more importance in matters of governance, where you must assent to be bound by the decisions that others will make in your name.

if this assent cannot be granted, then a more viable polity (or group of polities) should be sought.

Ukraine has to ask itselfwhether wrecking Russia’s Mediterranean access is really worth it…

unicorn77
unicorn77
March 1, 2014 10:57 pm

I’m leaning towards the not getting involved camp.

I’m very much hoping we do not need to get involved.

But, if tshtf, does anyone have an assessment of current Russian military capabilites versus what NATO is likely to be able to put up against them?

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 1, 2014 11:08 pm

APATS / x,

I’ve no doubt that a bridge is doable. It’s already been done there after the second war, but it got knocked over by ice floes. But is it doable in time, and sustainable if others try to knock it down?

I really think the bigger picture is Eastern Ukraine. More Russians there than the Crimea, where the industry is. And the Beeb now reporting that Eastern Ukraine was the new topic in a 90 minute call between Putin and some militarily impotent man in Washington.

x
x
March 1, 2014 11:08 pm

“Ukraine has to ask itself whether wrecking Russia’s Mediterranean access is really worth it”

There is broader deeper political question here. How much are Germany’s (lets not use the term EU let’s be real about it) and the US’s interests diverging, and how much are Germany’s and Russia’s interests converging? Ukrainians campaigning to join the West, sorry Germany’s EU, might end up in a decade’s or two’s time in a Europe whose CoG has moved east. Russia and Germany have things each other need in a way; France has nothing that Germany needs. As I often say here about the UK in the EU, we gave up worldwide markets and resources to join a club which had no resources and only competing industries. Germany in a way faces similar choice now. The Russians offer, um, what’s the word now, Lebensraum.

x
x
March 1, 2014 11:12 pm

@ RT

Who is going to knock the bridge out? The Ukrainians? As for the weather and nature Russian civil engineering doesn’t really care about such trivial matters………

as
as
March 1, 2014 11:33 pm

The Russians are use to operating areas that are isolated. Kaliningrad Oblast is only accessible by air with road and rail having to pass through ether Poland and Lithuania. so it is possible with no land link.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaliningrad_Oblast

Dunservin
Dunservin
March 1, 2014 11:54 pm

@DavidNiven and TD

http://www.flickr.com/photos/n-a-t-o/10607404916/

“Fuck me that looks like the conversation has dried up!”

“Dave, perhaps the one on the left was asking about aircraft carriers and valentines day.” :)

“TD they were probably reading RT’s comments on the ‘great carrier conundrum’ thread and trying to formulate an answer.” ;-)

No different to the expressions of any other senior officers being given their umpteenth briefing of the day on the same subject, i.e. feigning intense interest while actually wondering whether the helo would be on time for the transfer back to Djibouti so they could catch up with their paperwork and turn in before zero one dubs ready for an early return to their respective HQs the following morning. :-)

The photo shows Gen Knud Bartels Danish Army (Chairman of the NATO Military Committee (CMC)) and Vice Adm Peter Hudson RN (Commander Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM)). Together with Col Gen Volodymyr Zamara (Chief of General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces) and Vice Adm Yuri Ilyin (Commander of the Ukrainian Navy), they headed a joint delegation visiting Task Force 508 on Operation OCEAN SHIELD in the Gulf of Aden last October. They were on board the Norwegian frigate HNOMS Fridtjof Nansen having already visited the Ukrainian frigate Hetman Sahaydachniy.

All smiles here:

http://www.mc.nato.int/PressReleases/PublishingImages/201301031CMC%20COM%20MARCOM%20Visit%20to%20TF508_3__large.jpg

Main articles here:

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_104597.htm

http://www.mc.nato.int/PressReleases/Pages/NATO%20Chairman%20of%20Military%20Committee%20and%20MARCOM%20Commander%20Visit%20Operation%20OCEAN%20SHIELD.aspx

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu
March 2, 2014 12:41 am

@ TD “Its all about the gas. That is why Europe wont do anything.”

Step right up! Step right up! Ladies and gentlemen have we got a deal for you.

All the gas and oil you’ll need for the next few decades at special mates rates.

Plus as a special once off bonus – reclaim the London property market from the Reds and the Arabs!

But hurry this offer won’t last. Be quick before China snaps it all up.

http://www.nwsalng.com.au/North-West-Shelf-Project/Overview
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-24/major-oil-discovery-in-outback-sa/4481982

Our PM is online now waiting for your call. ;)

Jackstaff
Jackstaff
March 2, 2014 1:25 am

@Oscar Zulu,

Imperial Preference, mate. Start shipping at once ;)

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu
March 2, 2014 1:35 am

Tongue out of cheek now.

Agree that the ‘best’ (read most optimistic) solution is for a simple partition of Crimea through a quasi-democratic process like a referendum. That would satisfy the moral and legal/treaty conundrum and let Western leaders sleep fitfully at night.

But it also ignores the complex ethnic mix in the Ukraine and so for that reason an unlikely outcome. Ukraine isn’t so much a house of cards as a shuffled deck and unpacking the red suites from the black isn’t an easy exercise with the Tartars on the peninsula and the ethnic Russians in the east.

The US options (quite apart from the will to do anything and the risk that it brings of a larger scale US-Russian conflict) are limited by the logistics and access to the place by the US Navy and Marines – normally the US first responder of choice.

If there were to be boots on the ground, even if only as a peacekeeping force, it would be better if they were there on the behalf of the EU rather than NATO. An EU response could be seen as more neutral than a NATO response which would just ratchet up the tension. How’s that rapid reaction force going?

Time for the UN envoys to start earning their keep. While the Russians will no doubt veto any resolution more jaw jaw is definitely preferable to the alternative.

Australia has a more direct interest in the outcome of the Ukraine crisis as we are currently sitting on the UN Security Council and since we are hosting the G20 meeting here in Brisbane in November this year. Could be a very frosty meeting.

Not looking forward to the prospect of Ukrainians (of either persuasion) joining the the rent-a-crowd nut-job anarchists who follow the G20 around the globe and the usual suspect Islamic terrorists taking to the streets of Brisbane to make their point. I might just stay home and watch it on the telly.

Martin
Editor
March 2, 2014 5:08 am

As I said befor I don’t want to get involved in WW3 over Crimea. Ukraine is no small country and if it wants to keep it then let it fight for it. at the same time though we must see sure Russia for its actions? I think Putin has bitten off more than he can chew with this one although he probably does not realise it yet.

For starters their is the next G8 meeting at Sochi. simply move the venue and revert back to the G7. that will hit Putin personally.

if Latvia and the other Baltic States are so worried then let them do something about it. reverse the gas politics on Putin. Russian gas accounts for around 30% of EU imports. Get the LNG plants working a full pelt and and push every European gas field up to its maximum production. Relight all the coal plants and restart the nuclear reactors. some countries like Latvia and Finalnd that rely on 100% of Russian gas may not be able to stop taking it but if Germany and Italy stopped buying Russian gas it will hit the kremlin in the pocket.

since Russia islaready on the brink of fiancial meltdown a big knock like this will curtail Msocows power. It will cost the EU a bit but it’s probably a cost we Can afford to deal with a major threat on our boarder.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
March 2, 2014 7:18 am

Putin’s actions with Georgia and now Ukraine leave me with a deja vu feeling with regards to the 1930s. Didn’t Hitler use the pretense of protecting German speakers to move into the Sudetenland and encourage likeminded elements in other countries to invite the Wehrmacht in to Austria. For all his anti-fascist rantings Putin seems to have read Hitler’s foreign policy playbook and tweeked it for the 21st century.

He got away with it in Georgia and lack of will and action by the west means he will get away with in Ukraine, Munich II anyone? Where will he stop, the Baltic states have large Russian populations who are not treated as well as they should be. Could we actually stop him moving in to protect them?

Europe would probably do nothing meaningful as most countries are dependant on Russian Natural Gas imports. NATO could not act fast enough as the Russian could occupy all three Baltic states in between 24 and 48 hrs, after a rapid build up in the form of exercises. NATO would not respond in kind as it would still be discussing matters when the tanks cross the border. The nearest member Poland would have to take a defensive and even passive stance and I cannot see German units moving east as that would be petrol on the fire to say the least.

The UN is becoming more and more redundant, reverting back to its Cold War status, yet many nations still look upon it with rose tinted glasses as they get to punch above there weight or at least feel like they do but nothing will actually get done in Eastern Europe of Asia as China and Russia have the veto. Without the blessing of the UN no western power is going to act on the world stage again, it is political suicide and we cannot go up against either Russia or China as that would be economical suicide of any European nation.

Yes we won the Cold War but we have lost the peace, The Russian Empire is coming back, this time far smarter than in the old days.

jedibeeftrix
March 2, 2014 8:06 am

“How much are Germany’s (lets not use the term EU let’s be real about it) and the US’s interests diverging, and how much are Germany’s and Russia’s interests converging? Ukrainians campaigning to join the West, sorry Germany’s EU, might end up in a decade’s or two’s time in a Europe whose CoG has moved east.”

Agreed, which is no doubt why Ukraine appealed to Britain and the US, rather than a most-military nation with a co-dependence on the enemy. Not that we can do much.

jedibeeftrix
March 2, 2014 8:12 am

quote from todays liam halligan articule in the telegraph finance pages:

” Also bear in mind that Germany’s biggest single-country trading partner is Russia, an economy in line to be hit if fears about emerging markets spread or current geopolitical tensions turn nasty. Certainly, Germany seems likely to suffer more than other large Western economies should this Ukrainian turmoil escalate, given its considerable business interests across the region. Berlin will also be in line to fund the lion’s share of any related European Union assistance.

On the other hand, Germany now has “Nordstream”, its direct link to Russian gas, while the rest of Western Europe relies on trans-Ukrainian pipelines to import Russian gas. So maybe Germany is better protected than the UK if events in Ukraine turn really nasty? As I said, Anglo-German comparisons are complex. “

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 2, 2014 8:45 am

JDBTx,

My understanding is that between Norwegian, Qatari and North Sea gas, the UK is not particularly exposed to Russian gas. As we exit the winter and domestic demand reduces, we should be OK.

A question for maritime strategists. The Russian Black Sea fleet can only access the Mediterranean via the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, both controlled by a NATO country. Between them, that’s about 70 kms of narrow channels. If they want to go beyond the Med, they have to go past Gibraltar or through Suez to enter a proper ocean.

So how useful is their Black Sea fleet? They have a huge amount of emotional investment in it, but in practical terms, is it not a bit bottled up in a small sea where it can’t do very much?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 2, 2014 9:03 am

@ Lord Jim: The parallels are limited in my mind, RE
“Putin’s actions with Georgia and now Ukraine”
– let’s remember who broke the cease fire in Ossetia ( and who was inciting that party)
– the Russians probably have little sympathy for the Ossetians (Stalin’s birth place, what a gift to Russia proper), but you can’t try to bully a superpower on its own borders

@RT
Black Sea Fleet and the one in the Baltic have little significance, but the (surface) ship building just happens to be in those two places. The ones that have strategic significance are the Northern Fleet and the Far East one.

jedibeeftrix
March 2, 2014 9:16 am

my point about russian access to sebastopol, and thus the med, is not about how useful we consider it to be, but how important russia considers it to be.

high stakes for ukraine to bet against russian keenness to keep hold of this ‘vital’ naval facility…

RL
RL
March 2, 2014 9:20 am

With all these calls for sanctions (we’ve just relaxed sanctions on iran and now want to impose them on russia???) and G8 expulsions never mind the nonsense of military support, provocations that could cause at least the threat of instability in EU energy supplies, and rising prices -anyone looking forward to that- has anyone stopped to think of the impact in the markets? ANY instability now is the last thing an extremely weak economic recovery needs. We’re not talking about instability amongst the jib jabs either but on the EU BORDER. very silly. And for what? An economic basket case. That will be even more of a burden at the end of any settlement when the Russians end up with both the major black sea ports and the eastern industry.

The EU and US have been playing some silly games and let a rather nasty bunch of fascists loose. I think the idea of a little embarrassing disruption during Sochi for Putin has turned into something that now have to handle but don’t want to.

Ukraine needs Billions now and for years to come. Who wants to give it to them?

I don’t think we have any interest in “plucky” Ukraine, whatsoever.

It does bring the idea that the EU invariably brings everlasting European stability into closer focus. And the reduction in heavy armour and land forces likewise.

The idea that there are no circumstances on the fringes of a destabilised Europe in the next 40
years that might require a heavy conventional land presence to bring some stabilisation to is naive. Its a historical cycle and not an aberration. The aberration is the peace (through MAD) that we’ve had for 50 years. Wars are often caused by economic competition. The EU is a fundamentally instable, unbalanced economic entity. No certainties there.

It highlight the pygmies we are currently saddled with at the political level, and FFS it shows the vacuity of EU foreign and defence policy. Do we need another romania and bulgaria in the mix? Next stop Moldova even? Its a bloody menance.

RL
RL
March 2, 2014 9:24 am

So how useful is their Black Sea fleet?

As useful as our recent predication to ASW GIUk gap etc?

At the least it helps secure their southern flank, that straight is hard for NATO forces to enter unopposed as it is for the Russians to exit it.

Black sea borders a number of nations who may need to be influenced

RL
RL
March 2, 2014 9:29 am

Speaking of the demise of land forces and thinking about possible peacekeeping roles etc, we have also heard that the heavy UOR vehicles for Afghan should now be sold, scrapped etc.

Never really understood that myself. There must be some utility in not writing that expense off completely as it delivers a lot of force protection.not all environments are urban. Force protection for peacekeepers would be the main concern I would hope and so I’d hope that these heavy force protextion vehicles -rationalised or not, some cannibalised or not, are retained in storage.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 2, 2014 9:45 am

@RT
“How useful is their Black Sea Fleet”

Well as it consists of 1 Cruiser, 3 Escorts, 1 SSK and a variety of Landing Ships, Missile Boats and Corvettes it is unlikely to want to break out and challenge the Turks, Greek, Italian, French and 6th Fleet.
It could however protect Russian SLOCS to Crimea and in a defensive posture prove difficult to pin and eliminate.

jamesf
March 2, 2014 9:52 am

I think if Russia are given a free hand to dissect Ukraine we are in a very different and more dangerous world. I’m sure the US understand this, as the only grown-up in the western camp. The EU will want to appease Russia if they can get away with it, because right now they have enough problems of their own, and any problems with gas supply and Russian investment in Europe will compound that. But Russia is also dependent upon these revenues, and places to offshore their spoils.

We know Putin runs a basically old style Mussolini-type fascist government, a legacy of the KGB + new capitalists. He wants Russia’s dignity and superpower status back, but he only understands this in strong-man terms, like all dictators. In that sense he is no different from Mugabe. The Ukraine, having been Russian for most of modern history, is probably a red line (like Georgia), as its ‘back yard’. But Putin’s recent interest in demonstrating in both the US and UK ‘back yards’ – the Firth of Forth carrier incident and the bombers to Venezuela – suggests that he wants to begin a process of being taken seriously not as a partner but as a capable adversary.

The answer is probably new elections and a referendum for the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. But to get these will require some deft footwork by the US and the EU. China will support Russia for two reasons – Tibet (and the recent Obama-Lama-Ding-Dong) and their own claims in the south China sea. Any diversion of US strategic interest back towards Europe will open up a route for China to press those claims more purposefully.

This is dangerous, and Europe in particular is very unprepared to stand up to Russia, with the US having shifted is centre of gravity towards the Pacific and gone through its own military draw-down. As Korea signaled the end of post-WW2 disarmament, one might see this crisis as a test of whether the post-2008/Afghanistan cutbacks in western military force will be reversed. They should be. On a more positive note both the European and Us economies are in better shape, and apart from gas have little dependence upon trade with Russia (apart from Cyprus). Fracking in the US has freed up middle east oil and gas, and hopefully this little spat will make shale gas a more urgent priority in Europe (although geological conditions make it less of a winner here than in the US). A lot of new African oil and gas is also coming online, so we can survive without Russia, even if it will be temporarily painful.

The worst outcomes are either 1). A Russian coup de main, which will lead to a new cold war, and possibly embolden Russia to have another pop at Georgia 2) a civil war, which will lead to another Bosnia on steroids and potentially destabilize Eastern Europe, 3) any attempt by China to take advantage of US preoccupation in Ukraine.

jamesf
March 2, 2014 9:57 am

RL – I think all of the UOR MRAPS (Mastiff family, Husky, Foxhound) have been taken into core + Jackal family and Warthog. Snatch landrovers, Pinzgauer Vector, Bulldog and Panther are most likely to be disposed of, as none proved up to the task.

Repulse
March 2, 2014 10:02 am

One sobering point is what would be the situation is their were still nuclear weapons in Ukraine…

jedibeeftrix
March 2, 2014 10:13 am

I doubt they would have had the wherewithal to maintain them, given the resources and priorities.

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 2, 2014 10:20 am

Thanks APATS, a voice of some knowledge on maritime matters.

Would it be grossly mischaracterising to think of the Black Sea Fleet as a paper tiger south of the Dardanelles, but noteworthy north of the Bosporus in their own back yard of the Black Sea?

I begin to wonder whether the emotional investment of Russia in the Fleet is not misplaced from a Western geo-strategic point if view, but then the Russian mindset is different to the West. Perhaps we should mentally walk a mile in Russia’s shoes before commenting too much.

Rocket Banana
March 2, 2014 10:28 am

Ukraine could end up being another East/West Germany.

Russia want it Russian
Europe want it European

The only way I can see out of this is for the Ukraine people to realise they are in the best position if they actually remain 50:50 EuroRusky. It would make Ukraine a trade hub and admittedly a bit of a hit spot, but they will get the best of both worlds.

This means inserting a third potential leader and communicating the idea to the masses.

Rocket Banana
March 2, 2014 10:32 am

RT,

Russia own the Black Sea. Their fleet appears designed to blockade Istanbul but allow free use of their amphibious capabilities.

Phil
Phil
March 2, 2014 10:34 am

How is the Pacific Pivot going for you America? Or once again was it an example of wishful thinking and complete bollocks influencing thinking? Hmmmm. The Middle East and the southern stretch of the world island – it’s where the action is always going to be at.

Mickp
Mickp
March 2, 2014 10:37 am

Perhaps if anything this should wake up our politicians to the reality of the spectre of instability in Eastern Europe and the unpredictability of Russia. Not that this will result in an UK military involvement but did any of the defence reviews flag up a new Crimean War? A some good points by RL and Jamesf. In terms of defence in my mind this just reinforces my view that expeditionary warfare is important but we neglect home defence at our peril – of our land our shores and near Europe. No peace dividend from Afghan please, let’s reinvest and fill the holes in our defence.

Phil
Phil
March 2, 2014 10:44 am

What I want is for someone to point out to me why this is any different from Just Cause or Grenada or similar?

This is the backyard of Russia. Russia is intervening in an area with a majority Russian sympathetic population. There’s an opportunity to score some diplomatic and political points here and turn the economic screws on Russia but lets not all get over excited about what is really none of our business.

jedibeeftrix
March 2, 2014 10:47 am

@ Phil – provided it remains a smoldouring pre-conflict that eventually resolves with Crimea becoming largely autonomous under Russian influence, this will be but a blip on Americas 21st century.

Phil
Phil
March 2, 2014 10:56 am

Yeah right. There’s been nothing but crisis and war involving the US everywhere in the world but the Pacific in the first 14 years of this momentous ‘pivot’. The US air sea battle mental masturbators can keep dreaming and wishing China as the enemy but old reliable foes still keep our statesmen up at night and our defence planners planning.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 2, 2014 11:48 am

@RT

They have talked about investing in the Black Sea Fleet and adding vessels but it will never be a threat in the Med due to the sheer amount of combat power the NATO Navies can muster. The Greeks and Turks between them can muster over 20 SSKs and these boats are active. They have approximately 30 Frigates and Corvettes between them and about 40 sub 1000 tonne missile boats armed with either Penguin, Exocet or Harpoon, these train to play hide and seak(fire) amongst the Islands. Forcing a passage South against this sort of force is simply a no go.
Even then once you get into the Med you have to confront US 6th Fleet and the combined Franco Italian Med Fleets centered on 1 or 2 CBGs as well as SSNs.

Mark
Mark
March 2, 2014 1:16 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26405635

“Ukraine has ordered a full military mobilisation in response to Russia’s build-up of its forces in Crimea.
Prime Minster Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the country was “on the brink of disaster”.
US President Barack Obama has called Russian troop deployments a “violation of Ukrainian sovereignty”.

Nato is conducting emergency talks on the crisis. Its secretary-general has said Russia’s actions “threatened peace and security in Europe”.

Several other measures were announced on Sunday by national security officials:

The armed forces would be put on “full combat readiness”.
Reserves to be mobilised and trained
Ukraine’s foreign minister will seek the help of US and UK leaders in guaranteeing its security
Emergency headquarters to be set up
Increased security at key sites, including nuclear plants.
Airspace closed to all non-civilian aircraft.”

x
x
March 2, 2014 1:36 pm

Russia resetting her borders was bound to happen. That there hasn’t been much more disturbance along the fault line over the last two decades is remarkable. You had to live through the collapse of the East to understand its sheer rapidity.

Too much talk of Russia giving the Crimea to the Ukraine. The USSR reorganised itself internally; no different than the 1974 LG Act here! Um. I think we forget or we aren’t just aware how diverse in terms of population the land mass is that extends from the Belarus Ukraine borders to the Pacific; even during the Soviet era.

From somebody who lived under the shadow of the bomb all this talk of WW3 is amusing. The balloon didn’t go up in 1956 or 1968 why should it now?

It isn’t the Americans fight. And I think those at the centre of the EU project should stop offering states more of the same to other peoples that which has brought nothing but despair to the poor peripheral states of today’s EU. Not sure what the western Ukrainians think they want to join. Odd that their great (great) grandparents once fought against a western hegemony .

martin
Editor
March 2, 2014 2:08 pm

Interesting to note that Canada the USA, UK and France have all threatened to Boycott the G8 Summit yet the Hause Frau has remained silent for the past couple of days. Its almost like their is this blank space in Europe between the French and Polish Boarders that only seems to exist when someone talks about spending money for instance on defence.

One might have thought a Women who grew up under the Stasi would have a little more in the way of principals when it came to Russian aggression. She certainly had no quarms in pipping up about NSA operations. That other great Axis member Italy seems to be fairly quiet as well but I can’t remember if they actually have a Primeminister this week or not.

Its hard to believe some times we are in a union with these Jokers.

martin
Editor
March 2, 2014 2:11 pm

Does anyone else think the best result all round would be if Ukraine gave the Russians a good spanking. The Russians did not do to well against Georgia what chance do Ukraine have? Is their anything we could send them to help i.e. Javalin

martin
Editor
March 2, 2014 2:12 pm

Could this affect the pull out from Afghanistan? As far as I know much of the kit was due to come back by rail through Russia.

RL
RL
March 2, 2014 3:07 pm

Just heard a classic statement from that buffoon john Kerry. ” you just don’t go around invading another country on a false pretext to assert your national interest”

Iraq 2???

Do we need to make a list?

Angus McLellan
Angus McLellan
March 2, 2014 3:13 pm

@x: I’m not sure I agree about resetting borders, but something needs to happen to resolve the underlying issues in Ukraine. No Ukrainian government which lacks support and even legitimacy in half of the country – whether that be the west or the east – is going to have a very stable future. Nearly twenty five years gone and no progress on that front.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 2, 2014 3:18 pm

@AM

Agree that the Political situation needs to be looked at, another classic example of creating states on a map with no regard to ethnic split and very little to geography. However the current Russian actions are definitely not what is required.

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 2, 2014 4:11 pm

APATS, I’d agree with that statement (Israel, NI, Yugoslavia, many others). Ukraine is a creation of Kruschev. Prior to 1954, it did not include Crimea.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 2, 2014 4:38 pm

You could claim that, as he did have special sympathies, RE
“Khrushchev was born in the Russian village of Kalinovka in 1894, close to the present-day border between Russia and Ukraine”.

I’d rather say that Ukraine (with its internal division) is the creation of the evil Huns (no, not the ones re-invented in propaganda). That is how the emerging Russia centered on Moscow after the sack of Kiev; and that is why the East and the West are so different. The latter not having had to endure the yoke for hundreds of years, and then feel “rescued” by the Russians finally pushing the occupiers away (while doing the same for themselves).

mike
mike
March 2, 2014 4:56 pm

@ Martin

“what chance do Ukraine have?”

I mused the thought earlier in this thread, the Ukrainians are certainly different than Georgia. However, you get this;
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26407409

Their Naval HQ is already occupied.

Its like the Argentinians occupying Northwood in 82… at least the Ukrainian Navy is out of play, as x said earlier, Russia holds a lot more than we/the media seem to let on.

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 2, 2014 5:00 pm

ACC,

I saw once a computer animation of the borders of European (from France to the Urals) countries moving back and forth from about 1300 until 1990 and the end of the Cold War. Really good and instructive: if I can recall where on the internet it is I’ll link to it.

I imagine if you overlay on top of that the forced population movements of the last two centuries, each movement taking with it in folk memory tales of starvation, pogroms, ghettoes and concentration or work camps, it all becomes a mush. There’s hardly a square metre between Bavaria and Thessalonika, or Pomerania and the Crimea that have not had at least two, or sometimes three rulers in the last 150 years.

Still in living memory, I know a retired German General, now into his 70s. His father was the eldest son of a Prussian landed family, and served in the Wehrmacht before and during the war. His son was born on the family estate outside Danzig during the war. His father was captured in the East later, and kept as a prisoner by Stalin until 1954, and returned to Eastern Germany as a broken man. He travelled to the old estate in new Poland, but it had been taken over. He managed to get word to his wife that he was alive, but she was not allowed to travel from west Germany to the easy. After a couple of decades, his son managed to travel to Berlin to meet his father for the first time, but there was no connection.

For us in England, Middle Europe is almost incomprehensible. Everyone has a dog in the fight, an injustice to be righted. We should tread carefully.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 2, 2014 5:05 pm

Ref, what chance does the Ukraine have. Would the Russians be prepared to accept the sort of losses they would suffer if the Ukranians stood their ground. We are not talking Georgia here, we are looking at about 1,000 MBTs of various classes supported by numerous AFVs and Artillery pieces. About 100 Fighters and some attack birds. No doubt the eventual outcome but it would certainly be painful.

Mark
Mark
March 2, 2014 5:26 pm

From the bbc it looks like the navy or at least its head has gone over to the Russians

The newly appointed head of Ukraine’s navy has sworn allegiance to the Crimea region, in the presence of its unrecognised pro-Russian leader.

Rear Admiral Denis Berezovsky was only made head of the navy on Saturday, as the government in Kiev reacted to the threat of Russian invasion.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 2, 2014 5:30 pm

@Mark

Saw that, sack the selection committee, though Amnesty International question defections at gun point.

Mark
Mark
March 2, 2014 5:36 pm

Apas

God knows what’s going on down there at the minute but it does seem a record quick turnaround less that 24hrs in the top job to defect.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 2, 2014 5:40 pm

APATS,

That’s the whole idea of defence spending: have enough to make the likely adversaries to think twice.

Now… going back to the ethnic/cultural/political/language divisions within Ukraine: they have a pure contract model rather han conscription in use. That makes it less likely that the units will split along any geographical divide.
– but what is the mix within? Will there be a shared purpose?

Well, not making any forecasts here. Just remembering that when Georgia was playing brinkmanship, and executed their perceived version of blitz krieg, by the time they found out they had miscalculated they never got any of their reserve units into play (and those who were fed in as troop replenishments were the ones who ran).

Russia’s ground forces fall into the readiness brigades and old divisional structures that are used for conscript training (they were planning to go all pro, but found out they could not afford it). I am sure that only readiness units will be involved, whereas the numbers on the Ukraine side are a mish-mash, so whether the quantity is something to be reckoned with goes back to a “shared purpose”… or not.

Phil
Phil
March 2, 2014 5:42 pm

Russia is playing in her backyard. The same backyard she has played in for 250 years. We’re best well out of it and letting them crack on all the while acting suitably outraged, hint at a bit of sabre wriggling and moan to the UN – exactly what Russia has done for the last 20 years as we’ve gone gallivanting about the globe putting right what once went wrong.

We mustn’t waste a good crisis though – we need to remember why going wholly “medium” and “light” is not an option.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
March 2, 2014 5:50 pm

What we really need to sort this out are some carriers. Chuffing big ones, with jets embarked. That’ll be money well spent.

as
as
March 2, 2014 5:57 pm

Looking at the navy, all forces in Sevastopol have surrendered and lay down there arms.
The Southern Naval Base at Donuzlav Bay the Navy have surrendered but the marines at Feodosiya have refused to so are being blockaded within there base.
The Ukrainian submarine Zaporizhzhia (U-01) is at sea. The Russians have despatched 3 frigate to go and find her.
She is a very old Foxtrot class so that should not be much of a fight.
It comes down to how much of the fleet was in Odessa at the time of the invasion.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_Navy
It is a relatively small fleet any way so they didn’t stand much chance.

mike
mike
March 2, 2014 6:04 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26410431

wtf is going on… could we see a fracturing of the armed forces as well?
Crazy. And interesting.

x
x
March 2, 2014 6:11 pm

@ Angus M

You don’t agree about resetting borders? What do you think is happening now?

@ RT re carriers

Come now. What we really need is a brigade of infantry to face the Ruskies. How they would manage against professional troops after a decade or so fighting amateurs I don’t know.

cassandra
cassandra
March 2, 2014 6:11 pm

The China Connexion – an extract from South China Morning Post Sun 2 March:

“Ukraine has played a key role in engine production, and the maintenance of China’s fighter jets and other aircraft. In fact, China’s first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, was built in Ukraine.

“China has also co-operated with Ukraine over gas turbines in the Chinese Aegis destroyer, and the diesel engine for the Al-Khalid tank developed for Pakistan, according to Taiwan-based Want China Times.

“Kiev and Beijing were brought closer earlier this year by a security agreement. The treaty signed by President Xi Jinping and Yanukovych in January says Beijing will guarantee Ukraine security if the nation is under threat of a nuclear invasion.

“Economically, China has also been stepping up its trade with Ukraine. In December, Yanukovych said he had secured US$8 billion in Chinese investments for his ailing economy after talks with President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

“But Yang Cheng, the deputy director of the Centre for Russian Studies at East China Normal University in Shanghai, said the situation in Ukraine would remain chaotic no matter which power – the EU or Russia – Kiev ended up choosing.

“The change of government in Ukraine will definitely create uncertainty on whether the momentum for trade co-operation between Kiev and Beijing will remain as strong as it has been”, Yang said.”

Two thoughts:

1. In the UNSC (where admittedly Russia can stop anything it doesn’t like with the veto) China generally does not support interference in other countries internal affairs; so presumably Russia is prepared to discount Chinese support.

2. China very sensibly plays a watching game. If US/NATO/EU permits dismemberment of Ukraine because of arguments like reliance on Russian gas/too difficult to stop it/in Russia’s backyard/ it’s their historical patch etc etc what price in the long term Taiwan, let alone in the short term the senkoku islands (very thin end if a rvery big wedge) being the next red line we abandon?

as
as
March 2, 2014 6:12 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_Air_Force
The problem is how many of though aircraft are operational
Like there Su27 only 16 of the 40 odd are use able.
Every aircraft in there fleet is like that.
They have lost 39 of there MIG 29 as they ware at “Belbek” Sevastopol International Airport.
And 2 of there S-300 AAM units that were based in the Crimea.

Observer
Observer
March 2, 2014 6:26 pm

I would really hesitate to take anything from a source which uses the word “connexion”….

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
March 2, 2014 6:41 pm

‘Come now. What we really need is a brigade of infantry to face the Ruskies. How they would manage against professional troops after a decade or so fighting amateurs I don’t know.’

I don’t think we should write the Russians off that easily some of the units that have fought in Chechnya are not too bad.

x
x
March 2, 2014 6:46 pm

“I don’t think we should write the Russians off that easily some of the units that have fought in Chechnya are not too bad.”

I wrote it deliberately so it could be read both ways. Well done for doing the obvious.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
March 2, 2014 6:48 pm

‘I wrote it deliberately so it could be read both ways’

I don’t understand what you mean?

x
x
March 2, 2014 7:02 pm

Just had a quick look at ARRSE’s thread on Ukraine, this from Grumblegrunt is interesting,

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/crimea-heating-up.210853/page-17#post-5611381

Whether it is Poles in Britain or II’s in the Mediterranean it does seem “freedom” for the liberated is nothing to do with love of country more about easing an escape to somewhere better.

as
as
March 2, 2014 7:07 pm

Not all of the Ukrainian navy has surrender
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_Navy
Anything that was not on the Crimean peninsular is still in Ukrainian control There headquarters has had to move to Odessa.
Some of it looks like it is willing to fight. The Russians dispatched 3 anti submarine frigates last night. So it looks like the Ukrainian submarine Foxtrot class Zaporizhzhia (U-01) is out in the black sea and unaccounted for.

Ukrainian Marine at Feodosiya (on the Crimean peninsular) have refused to surrender so the Russians have blockaded there base.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_Marine_Corps

The Ukrainian fleet is mostly old. It is also small so even if it was complete if would not stand much chance.

Phil
March 2, 2014 7:08 pm

I don’t understand what you mean?

We don’t have the fahcilities to take you all prisonah! Sorreh!

Topman
Topman
March 2, 2014 7:13 pm

@ Phil

I watched that last week, top film :)

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 2, 2014 7:20 pm

@as

Possibly or more likely there is at least one Turkish SSK out of Bartin keeping an eye on things and updating the NATO picture.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
March 2, 2014 7:30 pm

Boss – According to Wiki there are over a million Russians in the Baltic States – around 25% of the populations of Latvia and Estonia, less than 5% of that of Lithuania….more than enough to justify an intervention if things can be helped to turn nasty at the appropriate moment…which they no doubt could.

Not much to add to various wise words on the hellish brew emerging in the Ukraine, beyond observing that although Ukrainian is a language with a people attached to it, as far as I know it was never exactly a Country bar a few years after the Revolution… it was more akin to the old Border Marches between England and Scotland than anything else…but with Cossacks giving allegiance to Poland, Russia, Lithuania, themselves or some combination of all of the above as convenient or profitable…over time I think the set-up was formalised as a Czarist Province with some sort of self-government under local Cossack Hetmen (I think that’s the term) – in return for providing vast numbers of Cossacks to fight RussIa’s Wars West, South and East…not to forget the Tartars sulking about the demise of the Golden Horde…likelihood of an agreed partition none to good in my view…

Whilst on the question of the Heirs to the Golden Horde, I notice the eastern branch in Tsinkiang have now started taking cleavers to the Han Chinese….

And amidst all these, Osborne is no doubt looking for another “peace” dividend in SDSR 2015.

Quite remarkably Gloomy

I also note that the

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 2, 2014 7:33 pm

On the subject of the Baltic states. there was quite a major Joint Force Command HQ NATO deployment exercise last year to the Baltic States with an interesting scenario. Just saying :)

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 2, 2014 8:08 pm

Wiki stats are what they are:
Estonia (themselves) classified about 40 % of population as non-Estonians at independence
Latvia had more
Obviously not many Russians (considering the economic state of Rodina at the time) had an urge to leave
… hence the statistics (“take cover” in operation)

BTW: the missing half of the Estonians went to Siberia… but they didn’t come back. Were replaced, just like the Crimea Tartars ; only a fraction of them came back (the Chechens made it, in remarkable numbers, despite having been deported, and let their thoughts known some time later)

as
as
March 2, 2014 8:10 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_Ground_Forces
The Ukrainian army is large and well equipped. most of the equipment is relatively modern or at least has been modernised.
Does any one now if they are professional or conscripted? They do seem to of made the most of the training opportunities available to them. They have had exercises with both Russia and NATO.
Non of the Army are based in the Crimea so all of it is still in control of the central government.

The Ginge
The Ginge
March 2, 2014 8:42 pm

As touched upon by other writers it is not just the Ukraine that needs to be considered.
1. EU members Estonia and Lithuania have Russian majorities in certain areas. Putin would love to re-establish a direct link between Minsk and Kaliningrad. Already other states are having to provide air cover in this area. Immediately Nato/EU should station troops in these countries, plus provide a permanent air cap.
2. Look wider. China is watching this very carefuly. Many states around China have at least large chineese minoropities if not majority. Cause a little unrest politicaly and then step in to protect their ancesteral kin. So the west has to show some backbone. It would appear from reports that Germany has already blinked, which if they have is dissapointing but not unexpected as they really on Russian Gas so much. If we let Russia get away with this then China is on the march.
3. After abandoning the agreements with Georgia were this all started, if the west now walks away from the Budapest agreement with the Ukraine Japan will be getting very nervouse and demand more from the US.
So what to do.
Well we are not going to go to down town in Crimea. In reality Crimea is a lost cause. But eastern Ukraine isn’t. So immediately admitt Ukraine to the EU. Put together an aid package to secure Ukraines economy with Germany taking the main part of the cost of it since they are starting to back peddle already.
Secondly Russia is going to turn the gas off. So an emergency programme needs to be agreed with Norway, UEA, USA and other gulf states to ship LNG to Europe whilst europe starts fraking in a serious way to replace Russian gas. This dependancy needs to be broken.
Finally serious sanctions need to be taken. Since China seems to be onside with this you just ban as many Russian exports in as many countries as possible. Russia does truly really on raw material exports so cut that off and maybe Putin wakes up.
Then the west may get back some creadability. To achieve and maintain this the West next needs to start reversing the cuts in the armies. Germany in 1914 would not have invaded Belgium or France if Britain had increased its army to 200,000 starting in 1908 rather than being ignored in Germany as a contemtable little army. Learn from history and don’t make the same mistakes, maybe.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
March 2, 2014 8:46 pm

@ Observer – I’m hurt – I have always preferred the grand old English “connexion” to the crass American “connection”!

– Well aware that wiki-stats can be dubious, but I think numbers of Russians have fallen in the face of considerable and often quasi-official hostility…

GNB

Topman
Topman
March 2, 2014 8:51 pm

With regards to gas from Russia, I believe the amount imported has fallen by half in the last few years. It’s now at 25% of EU total down from 50%.

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 2, 2014 9:09 pm

The Ginge,

That is simultaneously the most blinkered set of aggressive escalations and disastrously short-sighted and unworkable set of recommendations as I think it is possible to construe.

Do you really think it is sensitive to put together a package of German aid to the Ukraine, given the history, or that it is possible for the West to start fracking like a banshee at a day’s notice?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 2, 2014 9:11 pm

@Ginge

NATO already provides the QRA for the Baltic states on a rolling basis. They even intercepted the Russians who were flying a simulated attack profile on Stockholm last year.

As for the US, a good friend of mine who I will describe as a senior figure in 6th Fleet had this to say and he will not mind me quoting him.

“I think the recent events boil down to this: are any of us really willing to die simply because we’d prefer to have a Ukraine flag flying over the Russian Naval Port in Sevastopol? If they push past Crimea and into Kiev, well that’s something different… but until then, its not worth losing lives over – neither ours nor theirs.”

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 2, 2014 9:45 pm

APATS,

You should worry about your American friend. Things will not boil down as he describes. Would that they did.

The greyer reality is that Putin cannot merely take Crimea, with a total of 1.9 million mostly Russian inhabitants. He has to take Eastern Ukraine as well, with ethnic Russians still a slight majority, if less concentrated than in the Crimea. Geo-spatially, Crimea is untenable for Russia without Eastern Ukraine. Politically, equally so as he cannot merely come to the rescue of 1.2 million Russian Crimeans and ignore 10 million Russians in Eastern Ukraine. Economically as the vast bulk of the heavy industry that supplies Southern Russia is in Eastern Ukraine and not in the Crimea.

But then in taking Eastern Ukraine, he’s suddenly also got 7 million Ukrainians who are not ethnic Russians. And a whole world against him, if sub-optimally.

Bit of a conundrum for him. And us.

Anyway, hopefully your friend has more intelligence than you credit him with. Him being senior and so on.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 2, 2014 9:52 pm

@RT
I quoted him, did not say I agree with him. Whilst you might disagree with him it is a reflection of USA thinking at a fairly serious level as he is unlikely to go as “public” as he did with something that contradicts his boss.
He also inevitably has access to far better intel and picture, as well as insight into US contingency planning than I do and certainly than you do. He probably knows what Russian preps have happened and if those reports of them digging in at the Crimean neck are true.
Having said all that my gut sides with your interpretation.

wf
wf
March 2, 2014 10:07 pm

Outsource US intelligence to Sarah Palin. She appears to understand the situation far better than the supposed “pros” :-)

Rocket Banana
March 2, 2014 10:26 pm

RT,

“Putin cannot merely take Crimea, with a total of 1.9 million mostly Russian inhabitants. He has to take Eastern Ukraine as well”

Why not?

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 2, 2014 10:29 pm

TD, I don’t necessarily think “intelligence failure”, because intelligence people would have been flagging up all sorts of possibilities for several weeks. What you might be seeing is political failure to act on intelligence.

That said, I had a daily intelligence feed at a fairly local level in Bosnia. Yes, there was UK national intelligence mixed in, but mostly it was a series of possibilities, which if you squeezed the balls of the SO2 Int you might get some probabilities from ( and he was a weird fish from Sunderland who no one either liked or trusted, and was often wrong, so you had to mix that in to your judgement).

Did you notice the collective “who could possibly have known Saddam’s intent?” From the J2 community in Gulf 1? Every fucker apart from J2 knew that he was going to invade Kuwait about 4 days beforehand. They were not geared up for it, is all. If there is another “intelligence failure”, the same excuse will be trotted out.

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 2, 2014 10:32 pm

Because Simon he cannot feed and supply 1.9 million people across Ukrainian territory forever, especially as there still is not a bridge from Kerch to Russia proper.

Did you bang your head on the way in, and being concussed, ask a stupid question?

Rocket Banana
March 2, 2014 10:40 pm

RT,

We seem to manage to feed 60+ million and we’ve got further to go across the channel.

Have you forgotten about floaty little boats ;-)

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 2, 2014 10:43 pm

@RT

Have you looked at the statistics for Agriculture in Crimea? It employs 20% of the population and also has some deep water ports. By your argument all Islands would be doomed.

as
as
March 2, 2014 10:45 pm

As I said earlier the Russians are use to operating areas that are isolated. Kaliningrad Oblast is only accessible by air with road and rail having to pass through ether Poland and Lithuania. so it is possible with no land link.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaliningrad_Oblast
It has a population of about 1 million people.

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 2, 2014 10:52 pm

Commercial shipping depends on a state of peace.

Crimea has no oil and gas supplies of its’ own.

APATS, try growing crops on a commercial basis with no fuel.

Everyone, look at a map. Crimea cannot be adequately supplied from Russia. Bulk stuffs all go through Eastern Ukraine.

That’s why we are only seeing Scene One. Scene Two is Eastern Ukraine, or Putin backing down. Place your bets.

wf
wf
March 2, 2014 10:58 pm

@RT: gosh, the lights will be out tomorrow. After all, the majority of our gas arrives via sea :-)

I think Putin wants the Eastern Ukraine purely on the basis that’s what he thinks he can get.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 2, 2014 11:01 pm

@RT

You also suppose a land blockade, plenty of areas import fuel and with Russia they have a ready supply.
I have looked at a map and even in the unlikely instance of a total Ukrainian blockade it is workable and that is unlikely to happen.
I appreciate you think in one environment but ships carry lots more than trains and a 2 mile gap is hardly a gap at all.

@as makes a very good point, compared to the Kaliningrad Oblast, Crimea would be pretty simple. Politically the Ukraine would accept Crimea to save eastern Ukraine and once you remove any potential blockade life is very simple. May happen, may not but it is definitely logistically possible.

The Ginge
The Ginge
March 2, 2014 11:03 pm

Dear All,
Thanks for the comments, yep maybe saying German money was wrong EU money. Secondly my whole point is we have too draw lines somewhere and maybe suffer a little pain now is better than a lot of pain when Russia invades Lithuania or China invades Taiwan and we can’t shrug our shoulders. Actions must have consequences too many times Syria, Georgia, Scarborough Scholes etc etc the west has shrugged collectively it’s shoulders and done nothing. Thus Putin looked at the Crimea and went I can do anything I want as the USA and EU will say harsh words and do nothing.
Again I never said send any form of military personel east but economic sanctions with the support of China will hurt Putin hard and maybe make him think. I even disagree with the Nato’s chiefs idea of “observers” as one will be captured and paraded in Moscow as evidence of Western spies.
But by helping the Ukraine economicaly and admitting to EU you might make Putin think as I believe by this time next week eastern Ukraine will be Russian and the question is will they stop there ?
And yes I know that Nato provide a QRA force in the eastern Baltic but it is subject to review and renewal every 6mths (I am sure somebody will correct me if I’m wrong on that timing). Lets make it permanent and better equiped, maybe some ground forces as another trip wire. Again to make Putin think “can I get away with this ”
All this is designed to show China when we say something or sign a treaty we mean it, without firing one missile or bullet or sending any troops or planes east to confront Russian troops at all.
So I am suggesting zero military responce in Ukrane but an economic and political responce that show agression has consequences.

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 2, 2014 11:20 pm

Wf. I don’t think there is any correlation between UK gas and gas supply into Crimea. Their’s comes overland over what is still Ukrainian territory. Our’s comes mostly from LNG from Qatar and pipeline from Norway, a bit from the North Sea.

APATS, if there is no seizure by Russia of Eastern Ukraine, do you suppose that the Ukrainians will be in any mood to allow Crimea to simply carry on as before with all of their stuff coming unmolested over Ukrainian territory? You might, but I suspect that the first thing vengeful Ukrainians will do is to put their boot on the neck of Crimea and start jumping up and down on it very hard.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 2, 2014 11:30 pm

@RT

Depends whether they want yo keep their own lights on because their gas does come from Russia. Combine this with some “wise words” from the West and yes I think a Russian controlled Crimea looks a good out option for the Ukraine.
Also as I have said deep water ports and a piffling 2 mile gap offer an easy alternative so the Ukraine would have 2 choices.
1. Keep the lights on in Ukraine and make money on Russian goods transiting to the Crimea or.
2. Have their gas cut off and make no money as Russia demonstrates that a 2 mile water gap and deep water ports are more efficient in any case whilst formentinh further resentment and conflict.

x
x
March 2, 2014 11:35 pm

Putin would turn the gas off. They are dependent on each other.

We are heading for partition. And then an adjustment of populations.

The Germans are already making moves to placate the Russians.

BTW the ferries cross the straits every 1.5 hours.

As I said this all due to how rapidly the USSR collapsed. If they had thought it out the Russians would have taken the Crimea back before the USSR disappeared.

This was bound to happen.

I can see this hastening the end of NATO as we know it and, even with its inherent impotence, the rise of a German centre EU defence grouping that isn’t hostile to Russia but, um, actively neutral. No way will the Germans allow troops to move from Germany into Poland and into the Ukraine. If there is no permissible route and with RUssia have know interest in moving west (if it ever did) then NATO’s purpose is null.

x
x
March 2, 2014 11:48 pm

Um. The idea of neutral Germany at the heart of Europe has been floated before.

Quite like the idea of a central European block built around Germany free from the Latin triad and perhaps with a neutral Scandinavian block.

Where that would leave us I don’t know? Look west to the sea again?

as
as
March 2, 2014 11:55 pm

Operation Pluto lay a pipeline under the channel 90 mile long for D-Day so a three mile gap is no problem with modern technology. The Ferry port on that side of the peninsular has three railway ferries so has the ability to carry a large amount of cargo fairly swiftly. The two ports also have good road links.

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 3, 2014 12:00 am

APATS,

2 mile gap, which will take at least 6 months to build a decent bridge, and several years to re-route gas pipes to. Especially when you look further afield to discover that it’s a hell of a long diversion for road supplies, and much of the road route class 30.

Who is going to whine first?

Or put another way, if your diversion was such a good idea, why is it not already in place? It is not.