Disaster in Ukraine: Russia Extends its Handle about the Black Sea and Strategic Waterways

On Might 15, President Vladimir Putin took portion in the opening ceremony of the Crimean Bridge – “a tremendous 19-kilometre-lengthy construction” linking Crimea to Russia’s Krasnodar area.

This bridge is strategic. The pursuing article 1st released by Worldwide Study in March 2014 examines the broader financial and geopolitical implications


The conclusion of  Crimea to sign up for the Russian Federation has strategic and geopolitical implications.

The union of Crimea with Russia redefines both of those the geography as very well as the geopolitical chessboard in the Black Sea basin. 

It constitutes a significant setback for US-NATO, whose longstanding aim has been to integrate Ukraine into NATO with a see to undermining Russia, whilst extending Western military presence in the Black Sea basin.

With the March 18, 2014 Treaty signed between Russia and Crimea, the Russian Federation will lengthen its regulate more than the Black Sea as effectively above the Sea of Azov, the West shoreline of which borders on Eastern Ukraine and the Donesk area. (see map beneath)

Under the settlement involving Russia and Crimea declared by president Putin, two “constituent regions” of Crimea will join the Russian Federation: the “Republic of Crimea” and the “City of Sevastopol”. Each will have the standing of “autonomous regions”.

The standing of Sevastopol as an autonomous entity individual from Crimea is relevant to the area of Russia’s Naval foundation in Sevastopol.

Given that the break-up of the Soviet Union, Russia retained its naval foundation in Sevastopol below a bilateral arrangement with Ukraine. With the signing of the March 18th Treaty, that agreement is null and void. Sevastopol like the Russian naval base grow to be aspect of an autonomous location inside the Russian Federation. The naval foundation is no inside Ukraine underneath a lease arrangement. In addition, Crimea’s territorial waters now belong to the Russian Federation.

Strategic Waterway: The Kerch Straits

Russia now formally controls a significantly much larger portion of the Black Sea, which consists of the complete coastline of the Crimean peninsula. The Eastern aspect of Crimea –including the Kerch straits– are now underneath Russia’s jurisdiction regulate.  On the Japanese side of the Kerch straits is Russia’s Krasnodar region and extending  southwards are the port towns of Novorossiysk and Sochi.

Novorossiysk is also strategic. It is Russia’s premier industrial port on the Black Sea, at the cross-roadways of important oil and fuel pipelines concerning the Black Sea and Caspian sea.

Historically, the Kerch straits have played a strategic part. They constitute a gateway from the Black Sea to Russia’s major waterways like the Don and the Volga.

During Globe War II, the Kerch peninsula occupied by Nazi Germany (taken back again by the Purple Military) was an significant stage of transit by land and water. In the coldest months of Winter, it turned an ice bridge linking Crimea to the Krasnodar region.

The Kerch straits are about 5 kilometers in size and 4.5 km. vast at the narrowest point between the idea of Japanese Crimea and the peninsula of Taman. Kerch is a main business port joined to railway, ferry and river routes.

[image right: Kerch straits, photo taken from Crimean side, narrow width, below aerial view of straits]

The Sea of Azov: New Geopolitical Hub

Of importance, the integration of Crimea into the Russian Federation signifies that Moscow is now in comprehensive regulate of the Kerch Straits linking the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. The Ukrainian authorities are no for a longer time in handle of the port of Kerch. The bilateral settlement involving Russia and Ukraine governing the maritime route by way of the Kerch straights has been scrapped.

The straits represent an entry level into Russia’s key river waterways. The Sea of Azov connects with the Don River and the Volga, through the Volga Don Canal. In convert, the Volga flows into the Caspian sea.

The Kerch straits are strategic.  The Kerch-Yenikalskiy Canal allows substantial (ocean) vessels to transit from the Black sea to the Sea of Azov.

Moreoever, the Kerch Straits url the Black Sea to the Volga which in change connects to the Moscow river as a result of the Volga-Moskva canal.

Entire control of the narrow Kerch straits by Russia makes sure unimpeded maritime transit from the Black Sea to Russia’s funds as nicely as the maritime route to the Caspian Sea. (Black Sea- Sea of Azov -Don- Volga Don Canal -Volga -Caspian Sea)

In December 2013 Moscow signed a bilateral agreement with the Yanukovych authorities in Kiev pertaining to the development of a bridge across the Kerch Straits, connecting Eastern Crimea (which was portion of Ukraine) with Russia’s Krasnodar region. This arrangement was a followup to an preliminary settlement signed in April 2010 concerning the two governments.

The Russia-Ukraine 2013 settlement pertaining to the design of the bridge experienced, for all functions by now been scrapped prior to March 16. Crimea’s union to Russia was now in the pipeline prior to the referendum, it was a fait accompli. Fewer than two weeks right before the March 16 Referendum, at the top of the disaster in Ukraine, Russia’s Primary Minister Dmitry Medvedev requested the state-street making corporation Avtodor, or “Russian Highways” “to build a subsidiary enterprise that will oversee the developing of a bridge across the Kerch Strait”.

This bridge would mostly be geared toward teach transport routes linking Western and Eastern Europe to the Caspian Sea basin, Kazakhstan and China. It is thus an integral element of Eurasian Project.

Pointless to say, the Kerchen bridge venture will be absolutely beneath Russian possession and regulate. The Kerchen straits are in Russian territorial waters on the two sides of the straits.

The Sea of Azov, Japanese Ukraine and the Donbas Area

The Japanese Ukraine and the densely populated Donetz basin (Donbas region) of Ukraine -in which the Russian population constitutes a majority– borders on the Western shoreline of the Sea of Azov, which is now in substantial element below Russian handle.

“Ripple Effect” of the Crimean Referendum. How will the Disaster Evolve?

Will the referendum in Crimea set the stage for the integration of section of Japanese and Southern Ukraine into the Russian Federation?

Will it backlash on the illegitimate governing administration in Kiev?

The geographic and geopolitical improvements pertaining to Crimea, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov have a immediate bearing on unfolding situations in Jap Ukraine. (see map over)

During Jap Ukraine as perfectly as in Odessa in southern Ukraine, the legitimacy of the interim neo-Nazi govt in Kiev has been questioned.  Municipal and regional amounts citizens’ committees are difficult the authority of Kiev appointed officials.

In the port town of Odessa on the Black Sea, a protest motion demanding a referendum has unfolded. The referendum, having said that, does not emphasis on a union with Russia. It is to unseat the US-EU sponsored government in Kiev, which is regarded as unlawful. It also worries the adoption by the new governing administration of the neoliberal economic reforms, which are slated to be adopted under the helm of the IMF.

1000’s held a Professional-Russian rally in assistance of Crimea’s referendum in Odessa, irrespective of phone calls from the city’s authorities not to take part in conferences. Organizers declare much more than 5,000 men and women joined the demonstration.

“Odessa is against the coup in Kiev, paid out for by the West and Ukrainian oligarchs who remained in power with the assistance deceitful extremists and militants. We are fatigued of dwelling in poverty and we are no for a longer time likely to tolerate the tyranny of oligarchs and officers,” ….

The persons were being chanting “Ukraine and Russia – just one place,” and “Odessa, be bold, travel the fascists out,” as they collected in the center of the town. (RT, March 16, 2014)

Claimed by RT, protests have produced in Kharkov and Donetsk demanding the holding of a referendum on the federalization of Ukraine:

Protesters, on behalf of Kharkov’s assembly, asked Putin to “assure their rights and freedoms” and pass to the United Nations their requires regarding a referendum on the federalization, which they system for April 27, noted Ukrainian National News (UNN) internet site. Also, activists requested to deploy Russian peacekeepers to Kharkov area, adding that they fear for their life and property.

The demonstrators then marched to the nearby consulate of Poland, protesting from Western interference into Ukrainian affairs.

Kharkov protesters also looted the setting up housing places of work of radical-nationalist companies, which includes the Suitable Sector group, documented Interfax-Ukraine. The activists broke into the making, took out guides and nationalist symbols and burnt them.

Professional-Russian activists keep giant Russian flags during their rally in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on March 16, 2014.(AFP Photo / Alexander Khudoteply)

In Donetsk, pro-Russian protesters questioned the legitimacy of the interim coalition government:

Meanwhile, Kiev sent large military services hardware to the borders with Russia. Activists in jap Ukraine areas, such as Donetsk and Lugansk, were reportedly blocking trains delivering armed forces gear from the central and western pieces of Ukraine.

Comparable rallies were held in Dnepropetrovsk and Lugansk.

In Lugansk the campaign centered on a ‘people’s referendum’ directed versus the Kiev interim federal government:

In Lugansk, a number of thousand anti-coup activists have been conducting a community poll by handing out “ballot papers” of “people’s referendum” of Lugansk region. The poll raised inquiries of believe in in the authorities in Kiev, the chance of signing up for the Customs Union subsequent the federalization of Ukraine.

One particular of the thoughts was about the intercontinental bailout: “Do you aid reduction of social rewards and cancellation of added benefits at the ask for of the IMF?”

“This is for all an chance to officially announce their option. Now we have run out of 5,000 kinds, we are speeding to print a lot more,” organizer Irina Gotman informed UNIAN. (RT, op cit)

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Disaster in Ukraine: Russia Extends its Handle about the Black Sea and Strategic Waterways

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