fucking ‘brits’ need nuking, actually

These Uppity Brits Need A Slap-like Lesson
Moon of Alabama, Jun 23 2021

The Brits were getting a bit uppity today so the Russians responded by opening fire:

A Russian patrol ship and fighter jet have fired warning shots after the British destroyer HMS Defender violated the country’s border in the Black Sea. The UK embassy’s defense attaché has been summoned by officials in Moscow. According to Russia’s Ministry of Defense, the British naval ship entered the country’s territorial waters at 11:52 am local time and traveled 3km inside the frontier, near Cape Fiolent, in Crimea. The peninsula is not recognized by the United Kingdom as Russian land and London believes it to be illegally occupied Ukrainian territory. The Defense Ministry said: “At 12:06 and 12:08, a border patrol ship fired warning shots. At 12:19, a Su-24m aircraft performed a warning bombing (4 OFAB-250) ahead of the course of the USS Defender.” Four minutes later, at 12:23, the destroyer left Russian territory.

The Brits denied that any shots were fired at(!) them:

UK Defense Ministry claimed that HMS conducts an “innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with the international law” and rejected Russian Defense Ministry’s claims that warning shots were fired or bombs were dropped in the destroyer’s path. “The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law,” the Defense Ministry press service said in its Twitter Wednesday, referring to the internationally recognized right to sail through territorial waters of a country provided they mean no harm. “We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior-warning of their activity. No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognize the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.” The Defense Ministry also claimed that the destroyer was traveling in an “internationally recognized traffic separation corridor.”

That is non-denial denial. Warning shots are never directed AT the target. A BBC journalist on board of the British ship does not think that it was just an ‘innocent passage’:

The crew were already at action stations as they approached the southern tip of Russian occupied Crimea. Weapons systems on board the Royal Navy destroyer had already been loaded. This would be a deliberate move to make a point to Russia. HMS Defender was going to sail within the 12 mile limit of Crimea’s territorial waters. The captain insisted he was only seeking safe passage thorough an internationally recognised shipping lane. Two Russian coastguard ships that were shadowing the Royal Navy warship, tried to force it to alter course. At one stage one of the Russian vessels closed in to about 100 m. Increasingly hostile warnings were issued over the radio, including one that said “if you don’t change course I’ll fire.” We did hear some firing in the distance but they were believed to be well out of range. As HMS Defender sailed through the shipping lane it was buzzed by Russian jets. The Captain, Vincent Owen, said the ship detected more than 20 military aircraft nearby. Commander Owen said his mission was confident but non-confrontational.

The BBC reporter phoned his report in. One can hear Russian jets buzzing the ship. Innocent passage with loaded weapons? That is a no-no. Passing a battle ready warship through Russian territorial water without necessity? There are no ‘shipping lanes’ in that area, but lots of room to the west to pass around Crimea. So no. The Brits were clearly seeking a confrontation. There was also a US spy plane flying in the area to record the Russian reaction. This came just hours after the UK had signed an agreement with the Ukraine for the “enhancement of Ukrainian naval capabilities.” Contractual work will now begin to implement the following projects:

  • Missile sale and integration on new and in-service Ukrainian Navy patrol and airborne platforms, including a training and engineering support package.
  • The development and joint production of eight fast missile warships.
  • The creation of a new naval base on the Black Sea as the primary fleet base for Ukraine and a new base on the Sea of Azov.
  • Babcock will participate in the Ukrainian project to deliver a modern frigate capability.
  • A Government to Government sale of two refurbished Sandown class mine countermeasure vessels.

The editor of the Chinese Global Times says that Britain should receive a “slap-like lesson” for today’s incident. That is probably a good idea. But Russia tends to not react hasty over such issues. Revenge is best served cold. Unrelated to the above, a slap-like lesson was given to Britain today when Blinken arrived in Germany. He is scheduled to meet with Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Blinken said:

I think it’s fair to say that the US has no better partner, no better friend in the world than Germany.

London will not like that statement. Next week, NATO will run its Exercise Seabreeze in and near to the Black Sea in which soldiers and sailors from some 30 nations will take part. In light of today’s provocation, the Russian military will probably prepare some surprises for them.

Warmongering British Actions in the Black Sea
Craig Murray, Jun 24 2021

The pre-positioning of the BBC correspondent on HMS Defender shatters the pretence that the BBC is something different to a state propaganda broadcaster. It also makes plain that this propaganda exercise to provoke the Russian military was calculated and deliberate. Indeed that was confirmed by that BBC correspondent’s TV news report last night when he broadcast that the Defender’s route “had been approved at the very highest levels of the British government.” The Prime Minister does not normally look at the precise positions of British ships. This was a deliberate act of dangerous belligerence. The presence of a BBC correspondent is more than a political point. In fact it has important legal consequences. One thing that is plain is that the Defender cannot possible claim it was engaged in “innocent passage” through territorial waters, between Odessa and Georgia. Let me for now leave aside the fact that there is absolutely no necessity to pass within 12 miles of Cape Fiolent on such passage, and the designated sea lane (originally designated by Ukraine) stays just out of the territorial sea. Look at the definition of innocent passage in Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea:

Very plainly this was not innocent passage. It was certainly 2 (d) an act of propaganda, and equally certainly 2 (c), an exercise in collecting information on military defences. I would argue it is also 2 (a), a threat of force. So far as I can establish, the British are not claiming they were engaged in innocent passage, which is plainly nonsense, but that they were entering territorial waters off Crimea at the invitation of the government of Ukraine, and that they regard Crimea as the territory of Ukraine and Crimean territorial waters as Ukrainian territorial waters. I want to impress on you how mad this is. The whole point of “territorial sea” is that, legally, it is an integral part of the state and that the state’s full domestic law applies within the territorial sea. That is not the case with the much larger 200 mile exclusive economic zone or sometimes even larger continental shelf, where the coastal state’s legal jurisdiction only applies to specific marine or mineral resources rights. Let me put it this way. If somebody is murdered on a ship within twelve nautical miles of the coast, the coastal state has jurisdiction and its law applies. If somebody is murdered on a ship more than twelve miles off the coast, the jurisdiction and law of the flag state of the ship applies, not the law of any coastal state in whose exclusive economic zone the ship is. In international law, the twelve mile territorial sea is as much part of the state as its land. So to sail a warship into Crimean territorial seas is exactly the same act as to land a regiment of paratroops in the Crimea and declare you are doing so at the invitation of the Government of Ukraine.

There is no dispute that Russia is in de facto control of the Crimea, irrespective of British support for the government of Ukraine’s claim to the region. It is also true that Russian annexation of the Crimea was not carried out in an accordance with international law. However, it is not, in practice, likely to be reversed and the situation needs to be resolved by treaty or by the International Court of Justice. In the interim, the UK government legal position can only be that Russia is an “occupying power.” It is impossible that the UK government legal position is that Ukraine is in “effective control” of the territory. We need to see the legal advice provided by FCO legal advisers. It is simply not the practice in international law to ignore the existence of an occupying power which is a recognised state, and act with armed forces on the authority of a government not in effective control. The difference in British attitude towards Russia as an occupying power and towards Israel is tellingly different. The legality of the British action is, at very best, moot. In realpolitik, it is an act of brinkmanship with a nuclear power and further effort to ramp up the new Cold War with Russia, to the benefit of the military, security services and armaments companies and the disbenefit of those who need more socially useful government spending. It is further an act of jingoist populism for the neo-liberal elite to distract the masses, as the billionaires’ incredible wealth continues to boom.

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

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