Sunday’s TASS reported that Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused the U.S. of masterminding the near-catastrophic confrontation on June 23 between an English guided-missile destroyer and a Russian patrol vessel and military aircraft.
The incident occurred off the coast of Crimea near the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet only five days before the U.S. and Ukraine launched the ongoing 32-nation Sea Breeze military exercise in the Black Sea.
Moscow summoned the British military attaché in Moscow and the British ambassador after the provocation.
Speaking on Russian television on July 4, Peskov stated: “I think our intelligence certainly knows who made a decision there [in the situation with the British destroyer]. But certainly I think such operations are basically planned by senior partners from overseas.” An unequivocal reference to the U.S.
He further stated, apropos the above assertion, that, “in this case the destroyer was just a tool of provocation.”
And he added that the person he works for, President Vladimir Putin, offered the following explanation for the motive behind the incident: the Russian head of state “explained that thus some weak spots are sounded out both in the system of monitoring the border integrity and the response system…[this] is a deliberate and well-planned provocation.”
The Russian Defense Ministry accused the British Royal Navy of a gross violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The British warship involved, HMS Defender, has departed the Black Sea after port visits in Ukraine, Georgia and Romania with the Dutch frigate that accompanied it into the sea, HNLMS Evertsen, and both rejoined the HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group headed to the Indian Ocean and the Far East.
As the NATO ships go to the Asia-Pacific region, naval forces from Australia, Japan, Pakistan and South Korea are joining the U.S. and its NATO allies in anti-Russian war games off the coast of Crimea and other parts of Russia. Bringing the war to the enemy is the adage that seems to fit the occasion.
During a question and answer period in the television interview mentioned above, the presidential spokesman again paraphrased recent comments by President Putin, saying the latter’s response “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.”
To employ another old aphorism, if it’s war they want….
Worse is yet to come. Ukraine will host the founding summit of its Crimean Platform on August 23, with other NATO nations participating. The explicit purpose of the initiative and the event is to oust Russia from Crimea.
Messrs Biden, Johnson and company aren’t through with their brinkmanship, with their almost quite literal gunboat diplomacy; the sort that traditionally was used against small and underdeveloped countries. Russia is not in that category. As the speaker of the Russian State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, warned four days after the Black Sea incident, “Any provocations against a nuclear power endanger peace and global security in general.”