As the American public continues to be distracted by a wild divergence of worries and panic, ranging from never-ending Covid related restrictions to on-going massive censorship to protecting innocent school children from mandatory vaccinations and masks; almost all in some way threaten what remains of a Constitutional republic that has for more than two hundred years provided a bulwark of personal and political protections and freedom for every American citizen. Clearly, all that is now up for grabs. And yet, not to minimize any of those valid domestic problems, there is a global crisis that is slipping through the cracks that would, at any other time, warrant alarming headlines and mobilize public opinion.
The Black Sea
So what exactly is the Brit’s attraction to access the Black Sea besides the misguided belief that they are still The British Empire. It’s not like you can make a wrong turn into the Black Sea, accidentally cross through the narrow Dardanelles and then transverse the Bosporus, and voila, oops, there you are in the Black Sea with the Kerch Straits leading straight to mainland Russia – it is not a location conducive for a quick turn around or speedy exit. Accessing the Black Sea is a very deliberate move with a very specific purpose as its chronology of events continue to unfold as a well coordinated political strategy, a fragment of the on-going domestic effort to takedown the United States.
As the result of a US sponsored political coup ousting then duly-elected Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, the residents of Crimea overwhelmingly voted to reassert its historic kinship with Russia. However, the United States and the European Union continue to reject the outcome of a legitimate public vote as Ukraine’s puppet regime talks of initiating a military take-back. Crimea is a peninsula in southeast Ukraine that contains the historic cities of Sevastapol and Yalta, and lies between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Regarded as a sacred and holy site, Crimea represents a spiritual identity in the history of Orthodox Christianity from 900 AD and lies adjacent to Russia which adopted its religious tenets.
Brits Enter the Black Sea
As a gesture of support for Ukraine’s goal to ‘recover’ Crimea, the Brits deployed RAF aircraft in mid-April along with a US Special Ops team as part of a NATO “air policing mission” to patrol the Black Sea. Even as a decades-old international treaty prohibits the entrance of aircraft carriers into the Black Sea, the UK continued to establish a military presence, intent on escalating the argument between a specious Ukraine government and those pesky Russians who insist on protecting their 12 mile border within the Black Sea.
Putin – Biden Summit
Back in early June, US pretend President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Geneva for ninety minutes behind closed doors with Secretary of State Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in attendance. With low expectation for any rapprochement, each offered the following at a press conference at the Summit’s conclusion.
Biden said “The tone of the entire meeting was good, positive” with Putin agreeing “It seems to me that we did speak the same language.” While Putin added that the talks were ‘very constructive,’ there was agreement that the US and Russian ambassadors would return to their embassy posts as well as agreement to collaborate on cybersecurity issues. Biden stressed that his agenda was “for America” and not “against Russia.” In other words, the general assessment was that the meeting went better than had been expected.
However, despite an apparent meeting of the minds, soon after the Summit, the Brits, who were not invited to attend or participate, increased their aggression in the Black Sea as they proceeded to test Russian resolve and the Biden Administration increased its sanctions.
HMS Defender Violates Russian Waters
On June 23, the HMS Defender, after ‘drifting’ within 10 nautical miles of Russia’s territorial waters, was reportedly buzzed by the Russians. Soon after, a BBC reporter, who was on-board the Defender, revealed that the warship had ‘deliberately’ entered Crimean waters to ‘make a point” to the Russians. The same reporter then released a video which directly contradicted the British denial as the Russian Defense Ministry released its footage which it says shows The Defender being chased out of Crimean waters. The Russians claim that a Su-M24 Russian warplane dropped bombs near The Defender to alert the destroyer of its transgression. Prime Minister Boris Johnson touted the usual “we don’t recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea, this is part of a sovereign Ukrainian territory.”
At about the same time, two US destroyers were on their way to the Black Sea when Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov announced “We warn the United States that it will be better for them to stay far away from Crimea and our Black Sea coast. It will be for their own good.” Surprisingly, even the tone-deaf Biden Administration knew enough to cancel the deployment. As a result of the conflict, there was reason to question the whereabouts of the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet when the USS Dwight Eisenhower was discovered to be in the Mediterranean where it may have been prepping to join the British fleet off the Crimean coast.
More recently, after the skirmish with the Defender, the HMS Prince of Wales, accompanied by a nuclear-powered submarine, the HMS Artful, joined the Defender as British Foreign Minister Dominick Raab announced that Britain would not be backing down and will continue to send warships into the Black Sea. Raab cited unspecified Russian ‘provocations” and spoke like an old-fashioned imperialist
’we have every right to carry out peaceful passage through territorial waters of Ukraine in accordance with international laws and we will continue to act in the same way.”
In addition to luring the Russians to inadvertently cross a territorial demarcation, the Brits may also have their eye on possible seizure of Russia’s vitally valuable nuclear naval port located in Sevastapol on the Crimean coast or a daring run through the Kerch Straits leading directly to mainland Russia. The port has been home to the Imperial Russian Navy, on and off, since 1783 until it fell into German hands during WWI and WWII.
Russian Reaction to Brit Menace
As a result of Raab’s bold assertion as well as Johnson’s cavalier dismissal, Lavrov who has served as Russia’s Foreign Minister since 2004, suggested that Russia will ‘respond harshly to unfriendly US steps’ even though the US has yet to sail into the Black Sea. With a well-earned international reputation as a seasoned, discreet diplomat with mature judgement and judicial restraint, Lavrov went on to disclose that during the Putin/Biden Summit
“Russian leader Putin clearly stated, including in public, that the result in all directions is possible only through finding a mutual balance of interest strictly on a parity basis. No objections were sounded at the talks in Genevawith US President Joe Biden. However,” Lavrov continued, “almost immediately after they were over, US officials including participants at the Geneva meeting with redoubled force, started their previous lectures.” Lavrov then imitated such as “We told Moscow; we clearly warned and outlined demands. By the way, all these warnings come along with threats. If Russia, within several months, failed to accept rules of the game as outlined in Geneva, it will be subject to new pressure.” Lavrov went on to assert “The attempt to hold dialogue with us from the position of force are initially doomed to failure. We will respond harshly and resolutely to unfriendly steps. There is the need for fair cooperation if Washington really wants stable and predictable relations as it says…” and “ If the US continues to use force against Russia, we will respond harshly.”
Less-restrained-than-normal, Lavrov was suggesting that the Geneva meeting did not include any such threats or demands, that the US had not brought its A Game to Geneva and that there was no tough guy approach by Biden until the Americans left for home. It was then that its deep state warmongers went into action and distorted the outcome. Biden promised additional US sanctions only after the Geneva summit and Lavrov’s use of a ‘harsh response,’ in the diplomatic world, was indicative of a serious political breach suggesting that Biden is no more in control of foreign policy than Donald Trump. Lavrov was clearly referring to the US, UK and NATO disregard of Russia’s sovereignty in the Black Sea.
After Lavrov’s comments, Ryabkov added that
“US and Britain tried to open the Russian coastal defense system; and that provocateurs who continue to stage games in the Black Sea will be ‘hit in the nose’. “
Somehow a pop in the nose would not appear to be the harsh response that Lavrov was referring to when Putin’s official spokesman Dmitry Peskov clarified Rybakov’s “ punch in the nose” comment.
“I think our intelligence certainly knows who made a decision there (ie the situation with the British destroyer). But certainly I think such operations are basically planned by senior partners from overseas. And President Putin explained that thus some weak spots are sounded out, both in the system of monitoring border integrity and the response system. This is indeed so. Was very harsh and it is clear that no provocations should be repeated, the response will be in accordance with the Charter that says ‘to sink’.”
In other words, Peskov, who is Putin’s right hand, is not only suggesting that the US is ultimately responsible for the Black Sea aggression but is also suggesting that upon further provocation, the Russians will sink a ship, presumably with its full crew on board. Of note, Peskov speaks authoritatively only when he has been authorized to do so by Putin. He does not speak off the cuff or from his own personal opinion. In other words, the US, UK and NATO have been warned.
With no coverage in the Mockingbird Media, the American public remains blissfully uninformed. What exactly has Russia done in the last forty years to warrant the threat of a nuclear war? Is the goal of Black Sea aggression to bring ‘freedom’ and democracy to Russia or is it to ‘liberate’ the Crimea? Or is to punish Putin for being a Christian or a nationalist who believes in defending the sovereignty of his own country. Or perhaps he is not enough of a deep state disciple or perhaps defeating the last remaining Bolseviks in the 1990s was a fatal error.
As if no second thoughts had been given to Peskov’s words, Royal Marine Brigadier Mark Totten recently announced for the entire world to know that UK Special Forces were about to begin new covert ‘politically treacherous tasks’ including maritime counterterrorist missions that will occur as partnered operations against “big state adversaries” on ‘higher risk’ missions. In other words, Russia is being lured into the Black Sea, daring them to over-react and make a global size error of judgment or to be a strategically placed decoy so they can be blamed for any escalating military action.
by Renee Parsons served on the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and as president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, staff in the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and a staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found at [email protected].