Russia Controls the Black Sea and Ukraine Needs to Join the EU

The Russian coastguard opened fire on two artillery boats and a tug belonging to Ukraine which it claimed had made an unauthorized passage through Russia’s waters.

Two of the craft, the Berdyansk and the Nikopol, were damaged and six crew members injured.

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and Ukraine’s Parliament has declared martial law in 10 of its provinces to combat growing aggression from Russia. Poroshenko originally proposed 60 days before halving the proposed period to 30 days.

Three former Ukrainian presidents, including first president Leonid Kravchuk, opposed the motion. A letter signed by them said that the originally proposed length of 60 days would pose a “threat to democracy” by delaying the Ukrainian presidential election. Poroshenko’s approval ratings have declined dramatically in recent months. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is leading in the polls. Some Ukrainian and foreign observers have suggested that Poroshenko is trying to benefit from playing up Russian hostilities.

President Vladimir Putin’s own approval ratings have sunk in recent months over controversial pension reforms. Putin’s purported order to special forces to seize the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine came in March 2014, with his approval ratings sagging.

Martial law will include a partial mobilization and strengthening of the country’s air defense. There will be anti-terrorism and cybersecurity measures as well.

The Kerch Strait, the Bridge and Blocking Commerce to Ukraine

Russia prevented three Ukrainian ships from entering the Kerch Strait, a narrow strip of water linking the Azov and Black seas. Russia prevented the ships from entering the strait by placing a large cargo vessel beneath a Russian-controlled bridge. Russia then closed the strait, which both nations use.

In May, Russia opened a 19-kilometer, rail-and-highway bridge over the Kerch Strait connecting mainland Russia with the annexed Crimean Peninsula. The bridge’s low height restricted the types of merchant ships that could pass. This decreases traffic to service Ukrainian ports in Mariupol and Berdyansk. For those cities, their ports are economic lifelines.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) have since detained more than 150 merchant vessels, holding them for up to several days. An extra day at sea costs a shipping company up to $15,000. There are also costs to the port.

Each side has detained the other’s vessels. In March, Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service detained a Russian fishing boat and impounded it in Berdyansk. Just last week, Russian Border Guards seized a Ukrainian fishing boat and impounded it in the Russian port of Yeysk, about 60 kilometers southeast of Mariupol.

Kyiv said the Russians’ actions violated a 2003 bilateral treaty designating the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait as shared territorial waters and the UN Law of the Sea, which guarantees access through the strait.

Russian officials said the Ukrainian ships were maneuvering dangerously, requiring the strait to be temporarily closed for security reasons.

Russia is Able to Control the Black Sea to Blackmail Ukraine

Russia is able to control the Black Sea. Putin will be able to blackmail Ukraine to allow ships to pass.

The main response for USA and Europe against Russia is imposing more economic sanctions. There will be no military response to Russia over the Black Sea. Russia has the military capability to conquer Ukraine. However, there would be a constant Ukrainian insurgency against Russia which would drain Russian resources.

The best option for Ukraine is probably to elect Tymeshenko and try to join the EU.

45 thoughts on “Russia Controls the Black Sea and Ukraine Needs to Join the EU”

  1. The US is using Ukraine to blackmail Russia instead. The US has nothing to do with Ukraine-Russia feud but added fuel to the fire.

  2. Turkey controls Bosporus strait and effectively controls Black Sea. As for Russia and Putin, oil price drop below $40 will start the end of the USSR2.0 project.

  3. Maybe if someone assassinated Putin we could get a little relief from the Communist KGB manipulopathing bastard.

  4. Yes. And it won’t grow ‘back up’. When Russia does this, it will have partisan activity supported by Europeans in those conquered regions for quite a while still. And Europe will finally get serious about building up a real defense, too.

    So we’ll end up getting exactly what we want: Western Europe in a semi-hot Cold War with Russia.

  5. Russia has always held its borders by despotic means.

    And this would not involve putting the USSR back together. Just securing what is absolutely needed to restore the defensible borders it had for the most part.

    This means securing the Caucuses and northern Rumania and most of Poland and all of the Baltics.

  6. How much of Germany’s electricity comes from Russian Gas? A lot more than before they shut down a bunch of nukes. Whenever the wind drops they fire up a bunch of natural gas electrity generators. BTW see for that sort of information

  7. EU is broke, EU budget is strained. Enlargement means loads of money poured into new members by the way of EU Structural and Cohesion Funds, in particular, the European Regional Development Fund.
    Balkans are priority. Don’t ask me why, that’s the way it is.
    Anyway Ukraine would have to sort out it’s border issues with Russia (a state with contested borders cannot join EU) as well as internal ones – corruption, oligarchy etc.

  8. Not at all an understatement. Cut off Russian gas at the right time, and a fair number of people would freeze to death in Europe before they could replace it. Stupid of them to become that dependent on a state they knew was hostile.

  9. Is it not in our interest to keep post-USSR Russia “pretty much only Europe’s problem”, instead of having it grow back up to being our problem, too?

  10. Nobody wants to invade them. Well, maybe China in due course, but nobody in Eastern Europe. So they don’t need defensible borders any more than France and Spain need defensible borders.

    Don’t make excuses, they’re just pissed off they lost their empire, and want it back.

  11. Yeah, I understand the concept of reducing perimeter to area ratio by enlarging the area on a globe. (It’s why a 2000 mile border with Mexico is actually relatively cheap to build a wall along.) So, in principle you’re right.

    But, no, wouldn’t work. All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men: Put the old USSR back together, and it would die a quick death of internal revolt, because those people don’t WANT to be in the USSR, and are no longer resigned to it.

    Totalitarian states are held together by the chains of apathy and resignation. Freed of the conviction that there is no hope, the people can’t be chained together anymore. All they’d be doing is bringing the armies that would destroy them inside their border.


    “Flynn is not the whole story – Follow the oil money to TREASON:This is what Trump and Putin are up to: Exxon Mobil, under Rex Tillerson, brokered a deal with Russia in 2013 for 60 million acres of Russian land to pump oil out of, but all that Russian oil went through pipelines in the Ukraine, who heavily taxed the proceeds, and were applying for admission into NATO at the time.Putin subsequently invaded Ukraine in 2014, secured the routes to export the oil tax-free by sea, and took control of the port where their Black Sea Naval Fleet is based, by taking the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine by force and not giving it back. This was Hitler-tier imperialism that broke every international law in the free world. After Obama sanctioned Russia for the invasion, they could only pump oil from approximately 3 of those 60 million acres. But now Rex Tillerson is our Secretary of State, and as of today, there’s information circulating that Donald Trump will likely unilaterally remove all sanctions against Russia in the coming days or weeks. Putin will make half a trillion (500 Billion) dollars from that much untapped oil. All pumped tax-free through Crimea, stolen from Ukraine, now owned by Russia. Putin may have subverted our government just to become the richest man in the world. **According to leaked docs Trump will get 19% cut (Rosneft stock placed in Cayman accounts in Dec/16). ” 

  13. The west needs to let Ukraine, and Russia handle this, just like it did when the Soviet union transferred the Crimea from Russia, to Ukraine. All this drama is a result of that socialist idiocy.
    Wouldn’t it be ironic if a stupid action by the USSR turned out to be the causus belli of WW3 almost 3 decades after it’s dissolution? Not funny, just ironic.

  14. Russia or SU or Japanese, their home lands are so hard(cold or earth quake) to live. Invasion is embeded in their DNA K years ago.

  15. Yea but neither would the EU want them. How much of Europe would freeze to death in winter if Russia cut the gas flow?

  16. Really?
    But they have taken over Crimea and helped Syria to counter threat ISIS, where the US had failed.
    In the mean time the once-powerful US can not threaten Iran, can not counter CHina in the Chinese Sea, etc.

  17. It seems that Brian, as always, copies and pastes the US version of the facts without giving any explanation of Russian version of the facts
    Point is that the EU and NATO are now shown to be toothless entities and Russia and China are strengthening up
    As I have been saying all along

  18. Whoa, is this yet another comment system?

    Anyway, in what way does Russia “control” the Black Sea? There are five other countries that have borders and ports on the Black Sea, and the major Ukrainian port of Odessa is not in the Sea of Azov, so it’s free of that bridge & the Russian blockade.
    If Russia acts too threateningly in the Black Sea, Turkey could just simply shut down all access at Istanbul, isolating the Black Sea from the rest of the world.

  19. Some Balkan countries are already in the EU: Romania, Bulgaria and Greece. Not sure why Ukraine would have to wait for the others first, perhaps you can enlighten me.

  20. Actually he prob means EU. Thats the actual goal of the Ukrainians. NATO jet flyovers are cool and all but that country needs trade and economic development. Just look at their per capita GDP.

    NATO would not join any country with territorial issues, and a state of war. Thats exactly the reason why frozen conflicts are used by Russia in Georgia and Ukraine. Having a threat of nuclear war because of some tug boats is in no ones interest.

  21. I reject the amorality of Kissinger.

    Doesn’t matter what you ‘reject’. What matter is what is geopolitical reality.

    You embrace it, because you mistake it’s amorality as wisdom.

    I don’t embrace anything except reality on the ground as it truly is.

    It’s just a part of the way you are desperately stupid.

    Given how you are the one rejecting actual reality, you’re the one being stupid.

  22. I reject the amorality of Kissinger. You embrace it, because you mistake it’s amorality as wisdom. It’s just a part of the way you are desperately stupid.

    Out of what should be done, we should do what is least costly. Letting Russia expand violently with our approval is not something we should do.

    ”  It’s not how the world is run ” <– And you apparently think how the world has frequently been run is the best that can be done, and instead I think history can be learned from, not stupidly repeated as you suggest. It’s just a part of the way you are desperately stupid.

  23. Of course it is to our advantage we are seen to be championing people who seek to run their own lives and nation by their own lights.

    No. That is just you spouting bullshit that proves you can’t be taken seriously on any subject involving geopolitics.

    Like I said, you prefer not to deal with reality.

    When it comes to that BS, we could care less about China? Or most of Africa and South America for that matter. It’s not how the world is run and no exceptions are made because you spout BS otherwise. Talk about someone not preferring to deal with reality.

  24. Of course it is to our advantage we are seen to be championing people who seek to run their own lives and nation by their own lights.

    The facts on the ground, where their troops are and what they are doing is good enough–but then you frequently refuse to deal with reality.

    The cold war with the Soviet Union is over, but then you are the only one pretending that has anything to do with it. Like I said, you prefer not to deal with reality.

    There isn’t only one “cold war” fool, there are many. I prefer to win them, you prefer to let the bad guys win. It’s just a part of the way you are desperately stupid.

  25. Because it is to our advantage.

    No it isn’t. There is no ‘advantage’ for us. Stop thinking like a clueless Cold Warrior. The Cold War is over. OVER.

    As long as they threaten and act to expand their writ violently, they are our business

    Sez who? You? Sorry, not good enough.

    they represent a governing philosophy incompatible with our safety and wealth.

    No they don’t. Again! The Fucking Cold War is OVER!

    I refuse to be as desperately stupid as you are.

    Yet that is exactly what you doing. I mean, being stuck in a Cold War mentality proves that right there.

  26. ” Why should the US do anything of the sort? ” <– Because it is to our advantage.

    ” USSR was definitely our problem as well as Europe’s and China’s. ” <– No fooling.

    ” post-USSR Russia is pretty much only Europe’s problem. Definitely not ours. ” <– As long as they threaten and act to expand their writ violently, they are our business — they represent a governing philosophy incompatible with our safety and wealth. Their success is then our failure.

    ” That is the geopolitical reality of the situation. Don’t be ignorant like NBF is. ” <– On the contrary, I refuse to be as desperately stupid as you are.

  27. Exactly. It takes vast armies to secure Russia’s present borders. A lot less would be needed if most of its pre-Soviet borders could be restored.

  28. BS. It wants the Soviet extent of the Russian Empire back. The US should endeavor to be sure that so long as such as Putin is suffered by Russians to rule Russia, that Moscow’s writ is trimmed back to that of the old Grand Duchy of Moscow. Defensibility has nothing to do with Russia’s goals.

  29. Russia wants the Soviet Union back,

    No. It wants the defensible borders of the USSR back. Post-USSR borders are LESS secure than the pre-Soviet ones even though there is less territory. Has to do with placement of mountain ranges, open plains (like Poland), etc.

  30. Have China and Russia join NATO (not the EU) too, along with any other country that wants to join. Then nobody needs to worry about their neighbors, possibly the end of war in our times. Russia cares about Ukraine because it is their traditional tripwire for being invaded from the west. They have few natural military defensive terrain on their western border to prevent an invasion, something they are very sensitive to in their weakened state. If Russia joined NATO, something the USSR floated at one point, then they would no longer need to worry. It would also open up massive economic opportunities for them, helping raise the citizens standard of living (always a happy thought) and possible EU membership once they have proven themselves to be no threat to other EU nations. If China or Russia led the way by requesting membership, or membership to an updated global defense pact, the rest of the world would likely follow.

  31. Their demographics suck too. The Russian army will be a lot smaller in a few years because of a decline in the number of young men available for service. If they are going to invade they need to do it sooner rather than later.

  32. Lol Brian, Tymeshenko is corrupt to the bone. Actually she’s one of the worst things that could happen to Ukraine.

    Anyway there’s no chance that Ukraine joins EU before Balkan countries and that will take decades if not forever. Last but not least it would have to sort out all of it’s issues with Russia first anyway.

  33. I doubt it. If not for the fracking revolution, maybe, but Russia’s economy is in such dismal shape with the drop in oil prices that they can’t afford to reassemble the USSR. Their military is rotting away from lack of maintenance.

  34. Russia wants the Soviet Union back, and has slowly been doing what MaBell did after the breakup in the mid 80’s…gobbling up everything to the point there are just 2-3 real phone companies left.
    Russia will take these countries over again, just watch.

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