Ukraine’s provocation in the Azov Sea
29 November 2018
On Sunday, Ukrainian naval vessels entered waters claimed by Russia near Crimea, leading the Russian Coast Guard to fire on and seize three Ukrainian ships. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has responded by declaring martial law and putting the army on full alert, declaring, “Ukraine is under threat of full-scale war with Russia.”
The ongoing crisis is the most significant direct military confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, the countries with the two largest standing armies in Europe, since early 2014, when a far-right coup in Kiev, orchestrated and financed by the European Union and US imperialism, plunged the region into a state of perpetual crisis.
The standoff in the Azov Sea is the latest in a series of provocations staged by US imperialism and its allies—from the coup in Ukraine itself, to the numerous alleged gas attacks in Syria, to the Skripal poisoning, to alleged Russian “meddling” in the US elections—aimed at creating the pretext for sanctions and military aggression against Russia.
As with every provocation by the Poroshenko regime against Russia in recent years, NATO, the EU and the US immediately took the side of Ukraine in the current confrontation, decrying Russia’s action as an act of “aggression” and “violation of international law.”
Washington’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. Just one day earlier, the Trump administration had whitewashed the brazen murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, declaring there was no evidence that the Saudi crown prince had done anything wrong.
Poroshenko announced that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had assured him Washington would provide “full support, full assistance, including military assistance.”