On the first day of August, information about the desire of the Ukrainian side to deploy a NATO / EU monitoring mission in the Black Sea-Azov water area became public.
“The project is called“ Permanent Monitoring Mission in the Black Sea, the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov ”. In English abbreviated BlackSeaMoM. The document was prepared by the deputy director of the political department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Petro Petrovich Beshta. A certain Alena Tsibuk also took part in the work on it, ”blogger Boris Rozhin pointed out with reference to a Ukrainian source, who published extracts from the relevant materials.
How likely is this project to be genuine?
In our opinion, the probability that the material published by Rozhin corresponds to the truth is quite high. At least, there is nothing in it that would be contrary to the tendencies of Ukrainian politics that Kiev demonstrated in the “cadence” of the previous president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.
Based on this, it was decided to carefully analyze the contents of the Permanent Monitoring Mission in the Black Sea, the Kerch Strait and the Sea Azov (BlackSeaMoM) project.
As you might guess from this title, the project is in English. On this basis, Boris Rozhin suggested that “this is a text for the” Western partners “who sent a proposal to attract EU and NATO forces to operations in the Black Sea and the Kerch Strait.”
We think that we should agree with this hypothesis. In the end, after the reunification of Crimea with Russia, Kiev has continuously bombarded the EU, NATO, OSCE and other international structures with a variety of initiatives designed to “curb Russian aggression”. So the BlackSeaMoM project fits perfectly into this post-maiden paradigm.
The essence of BlackSeaMoM is to strengthen international pressure on Russia and further discredit the image of our country in the eyes of the “world community”. In addition, the BlackSeaMoM project should force Russia to “not take new unilateral actions in the Black Sea,” which could harm Ukraine and / or its allies. All this, according to the document published by Rozhin, should be facilitated by a whole range of measures.
In summary, he looks like this.
– Under the motto of “restoring freedom of navigation” in the Kerch Strait and in response to the appeal of Ukraine, NATO and / or the EU (in the extreme case, the Black Sea state allied to Ukraine) should initiate the creation of the same permanent monitoring international mission in the Black Sea, the Kerch Strait and Sea of Azov;
– the activities of the monitoring mission will be ensured and supported by a further buildup of NATO military presence in the Black Sea;
– the mission should identify violations of the RF Treaty between the Russian Federation and Ukraine on cooperation in the use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait of December 24, 2003 (the fact that Ukraine itself regularly spits on this Treaty, Kiev prefers not to notice). The mission is also charged with developing recommendations aimed at “suppressing Russian actions related to violations of international treaties and threats against Ukraine”;
– To ensure the operation of BlackSeaMoM, it is planned to create a network of focal points with headquarters in Odessa, which should ensure the interaction of the naval forces of the Black Sea region states – Ukraine, Georgia, Romania, Turkey and Bulgaria;
– to collect the necessary information, monitoring mission vessels should be deployed on a rotational basis in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. At the same time, they should stay outside the 12-mile zone, which Russia considers its territorial waters;
– in addition, BlackSeaMoM participants should use any other sources for collecting information on the actions of the Russian Federation in the Black Sea, the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov: publications in the media and social networks, satellite images, data from the AIS – ship’s automatic identification system, testimonies of ship captains and shipowners, as well as information provided by Ukraine or any allied state of the Black Sea region;
– Of course, any participation of the Russian Federation is excluded in the activities of BlackSeaMoM.
What can be said about this?
Firstly, Russia does not at all strive to demonstrate its aggressiveness in the vastness of the Black Sea-Azov waters. Rather, with an eye to Ukraine’s seizure of Russian ships, one can even say that Moscow often behaves unjustifiably in relation to Kiev.
Secondly, the concept of “Let’s follow Russia together” in Ukraine is far from new. She was in full propaganda by the chairman of the so-called. “The supervisory board of the Maidan Foundation for Foreign Affairs” Andrei Klimenko since March 2018, that is, from the beginning of the Azov crisis. Actually, it was this crisis, provoked by the seizure by the Ukrainian border guards of the Russian seiner Nord, that led to grave consequences for Ukrainian shipping. Which, in turn, made Kiev, figuratively speaking, panicky “run around the ceiling and write complaints to Sportloto.”
An additional incentive to continue this bacchanalia was the Ukrainian provocation in the Kerch Strait, launched by the naval ship and boat group of the Naval Forces of Ukraine on November 25, 2018, at the request of President Poroshenko, who was trying to get a reason to shift the timing of the presidential election to the right.
After making sure that her solo provocations against Russia did not end with anything good, Ukraine began to actively look for accomplices ready to make friends with Kiev against Moscow. I must say that there were a lot of those from the West. It’s just that none of them decided and still doesn’t dare to cross the “red lines” established by Moscow … To express indignation with the “aggressive actions” of Russia? Yes. Send ships to joint exercises with Ukrainians in Odessa? Yes. Move the same ships to the Kerch Strait to “guarantee freedom of navigation” there? Are you crazy? Of course not.
The BlackSeaMoM project, if it exists in reality, is another attempt by Kiev to draw other countries into the orbit of its confrontation with Moscow. Judging by the outcome of previous attempts, the project is obviously a failure. In fact, if the project to create a united Black Sea flotilla led by NATO, proposed by the President of Romania, Klaus Werner Johannis, didn’t take off, then against this background the idea of “curbing Russia” in the Black Sea-Azov water area by creating an international mission of “voluntarily spying” looks wretchedly.
How can precariously avoiding the Russian state water BlackSeaMoM affect Moscow, which controls the entire Black Sea from Crimea, not to mention the Sea of Azov? In general, nothing. In the end, it all comes down to one thing: are Ukraine, NATO, the EU, Georgia, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, who is buying from the Russian Federation S-400, ready to take the Kerch Strait from Russia?
Judging by the current situation, to put it mildly – no. And without the readiness of BlackSeaMoM participants for power actions, the actions of a permanent monitoring mission will either end in nothing or get bogged down in international courts. However, there is another option – they will generate another “feeding trough” for Ukrainian officials and volunteers due to foreign financing. It seems to us that this will be the most likely outcome in the event of an attempt to implement the BlackSeaMoM project.
Actually, this can be finished.
The degree of involvement in the initiative with BlackSeaMoM of the environment of the new President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky remains in doubt. If we take for granted that the document published by Boris Rozhin is genuine, then an option is not ruled out in which Zelensky is not at all aware of the existence of the BlackSeaMoM project.
This does not mean that Zelensky will not try to take advantage of this project on occasion. But this, as they say, is a completely different story.