Trou­ble in deep wa­ter

The New European - - Agenda -

MOSCOW: In the af­ter­math of the naval in­ci­dent off the coast of Crimea near the Kerch strait, ten­sions be­tween Moscow and Kiev have risen to un­prece­dented lev­els.

Rus­sian-backed sep­a­ratists have waged a land-based war against Ukraine for more than four years. How­ever, this con­flict spilled over into the Sea of Azov when Rus­sia cap­tured three Ukrainian naval ves­sels as well as some crew mem­bers, claim­ing they were in­fring­ing on Rus­sian ter­ri­to­rial waters.

Writ­ing in Ar­gu­menty i fakty, a weekly news­pa­per owned by the gov­ern­ment of Moscow, Niko­lai Pa­tru­shev, sec­re­tary of the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil of Rus­sia, boldly ar­gued that Ukraine “bla­tantly vi­o­lated the in­ter­na­tional law of the sea”.

For Pa­tru­shev, this clash was a “planned provo­ca­tion” by Ukraine be­cause there were un­der­ly­ing, po­lit­i­cal in­cen­tives. He ac­cused Ukrainian pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko of us­ing “the navy as po­lit­i­cal bar­gain­ing chip in or­der to in­crease his own chances of re­main­ing in power”, ahead of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion due to take place in March next year.

“In lieu of a proper elec­tion cam­paign, Poroshenko in­tends to build an elec­toral plat­form solely based on fab­ri­cat­ing imag­i­nary threats. With the in­tro­duc­tion of mar­tial law, Poroshenko wants to clamp down on hu­man rights and free speech and pos­si­bly can­cel the elec­tion un­der the pre­tence of pro­tect­ing Ukraine,” he wrote.

But Pa­tru­shev also re­minded Rus­sian read­ers of Ukraine’s on­go­ing so­cial and eco­nomic prob­lems. “Pro­duc­tion has prac­ti­cally col­lapsed. Mil­lions of Ukraini­ans have to seek work abroad”. He ex­plic­itly blamed busi­nesses linked to Kiev’s au­thor­i­ties for “the em­bez­zle­ment of bud­get funds, cor­rup­tion, arms trade and fraud”.

Pa­tru­shev con­cluded some­what con­tentiously: “Kiev’s ac­tions have be­come a con­stant source of threat to Rus­sia. This in­ci­dent is yet an­other point to add on to the list of crimes com­mit­ted by the Ukrainian Gov­ern­ment.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.