Russia Sinks Ship to Blockade Ukrainian Navy Port

 
Thursday, 06 March 2014 21:52
March 6, 2014 @ 9:55 PM EST — (TRN) The Russian navy placed the decommissioned Russian anti-submarine vessel Ochakov, from the Black Sea fleet, in the middle of the entrance to the Ukrainian Navy home port, then SANK that old Russian ship to permanently block the Ukrainian Navy from accessing the Black Sea. This is a “blockade” and, since there is no national security threat to Russia from the Ukraine Navy,  and since there is no declaration of war between Russia and Ukraine, this is an act of war by Russia against Ukraine.  Putin finally miscalculated. 

Yevpatoria, Ukraine: An anti-submarine ship may have been the first casualty of the Russian incursion into Crimea,  the Russian navy sank one of its own, junked vessels to create an obstacle, a Ukrainian official said on Wednesday.

 

Ukraine Defense Ministry spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Alexei Mazepa said Russian sailors pulled the anti-submarine vessel Ochakov out of a naval junkyard and sank it in the straits that connect the Black Sea with a body of water known as Donuzlav lake. He said the act was intended to prevent Ukrainian navy ships from leaving a nearby base and going to sea.

 

A Kara-Class late-60’s-era cruiser, the Ochakov that was already heading for the scrapper’s torch.  Laid up for 27 years, since 1987, it was to be rebuilt in the 90’s, but caught fire in the yard, heavily damaging it. Finally was written off and decommissioned in 2011.

 

The sinking was the latest in a series of moves by Russian naval forces in the area that were jangling the nerves of Ukrainian officers.

 

Earlier in the week, the commander of the Russian Black Sea fleet, Admiral Alexander Vitko, visited Ukraine’s South Base, according to the deputy base commander, Captain Viktor Shmiganovsky.

 

”He asked me to invite all the officers and suggested that we collectively take up the Russian military allegiance oath and become part of the Black Sea fleet … promising good pay and a bright future,” Captain Shmiganovsky said. ”He insisted we do that to help protect Ukraine from extremist gangs.”

 

The officer said his boss, the base commander, retorted: ”Comrade admiral, we didn’t see any extremist gangs here until you came with your men.”

 

He said the admiral left ”in a rage.”

 

On Wednesday, the mouth of the bay was blocked by 10 Russian vessels including the formidable guided missile cruiser Moskva.

 

”The Black Sea fleet can sail in the Black Sea, but it has no right to block our navy harbor like this,” Colonel  Mazepa said.

 

Russia leases the port of Sevastopol and other bases in Crimea, which serves as the headquarters of its Black Sea fleet.

 

Russian troops have seized or blockaded a number of strategic facilities in Crimea, including Ukrainian military bases, leading to uneasy standoffs with Ukrainian troops.

 

While the Russians have mostly worn unmarked uniforms and the Kremlin has denied that they are, in fact, Russian military units, some were seen on Wednesday wearing regulation uniforms, with Russian epaulettes and insignia, a Ukrainian army officer said.

 

Ukrainian Colonel Andriy Matviyenko said about 200 Russian officers and soldiers arrived late on Tuesday night at the gate of a Ukrainian anti-aircraft brigade stationed in the resort city of Yevpatoria, about 96 kilometres north-west of Sevastopol. They made no attempt to hide their Russian military identity.

 

”Their commander introduced himself as Colonel Dyatlov, commander of a Russian anti-aircraft unit, who demanded that we open up the gates, let him and his men in and allow them to put our anti-aircraft missiles back on duty under the control and guidance of the Russian armed forces,” Colonel Matviyenko said.

 

”I flatly said no, and they turned and left. They had no business being here, on Ukrainian soil.”

 

AN ACT OF WAR

 

As pointed out countless times over the past few weeks by Russia, there is a Treaty between Russia and the Ukraine allowing the Black Sea Fleet to have a port in Crimea and to have a maximum of 25,000 troops in Crimea.  Nowhere in the Treaty is there a provision allowing the Russian Navy to physically blockade the Ukrainian Navy.  Russia has thus violated the terms of their Treaty with Ukraine.

 

The manner in which Russia did this suggests that President Putin is looking for a way to get the Ukraine to declare war, which would give him the excuse to come into Ukraine, crush the entire country and take whatever portions of it that he desires.  Ukraine ought not be tricked into this trap.

 

There is now talk within in Kiev about what response should be offered.  Some are suggesting the Ukraine find a large vessel in a scrap yard, load it up with explosives deep in the hull, sail it into the entrance of the Black Sea fleet home port and detonated the explosives, sinking the ship in the entrance to the Black Sea Fleet home port.  What’s good for the Goose is good for the Gander.

 

It would be interesting to see how Russia reacts to being a victim of its own tactics.

 

OBAMA DECLARES UKRAINE CRISIS “EXTRAORDINARY THREAT” TO U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY

 

On Thursday morning, President Barack Obama signed an executive order which designated the ongoing crisis in Ukraine prompted by a Russian military invasion of the Crimean Peninsula “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

 

The order allows the administration to impose visa restrictions on Russians and Crimeans which are identified as threats to Ukraine’s security or territorial integrity. The order also paves the way for the imposition of sanctions on individuals the government determines are responsible for “undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine.”

 

On Thursday, the Crimean parliament voted to separate from Ukraine and join Russia as a new territory in the Russian Federation. They mandated that a referendum on either greater autonomy or union with Russia will be put to the public in 10 days. Both the government in Kiev and the European Union declared that this kind of regional referendum would be unconstitutional.

 

 

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