On 23rd June this year it was widely reported that a British war ship, HMS Defender was patrolling in the Black Sea. The first question that sprang to mind was why? As Vladimir Putin dryly remarked when asked whether World War III was about to break out, the British ship was over 2,000 miles from home. The Russian fleet in contrast was on home territory. While Russia viewed an outbreak of hostilities very seriously it was clear who were within their rights to defend their territory (Russia Today 24/6/2021).
Back in the UK the British Government made a similarly laid back response stating that there were no bombs dropped or aircraft firing close to HMS Defender. The apparent nonchalance hides some more serious facts. Defender was bristling with state-of-the-art armaments, with a helicopter on board and a number of journalists. There is no doubt their intention was to be noticed.
There are international agreements concerning the use of the Black Sea by shipping and that is that the waters give priority to those countries bordering it. Visiting ships have 21 days and this is accompanied by a view that they have a peaceful purpose, not for one of provocation. The Defender has been in Ukrainian port of Odesa a few days before where the UK and Ukraine had signed an agreement to jointly create two naval bases along with war ships.
It seems as if the purpose of the visit was anything but peaceful, but highly provocative for peace in the region with UK, presumably working within the highly belligerent NATO, siding with the Ukrainian government.
Another factor that is not emerging from reports about the confrontation between Russia and UK is the link between the UK and the Ukrainian Government, backed by the U.S. and NATO. For many years governments took note of the delicate nature of acts taking place in the back yards of nations which would be likely to inflame hostility. The outstanding example is when the USSR under Khrushev sent missiles to Cuba leaving the world feeling it was under the threat of nuclear holocaust. The current Government in the Ukraine is seen as corrupt and fascism has been a major problem since World War II when collaboration between the Ukraine and the Third Reich took place complete with associated atrocities. Today the involvement of fascists and rise of the far right continues to be a serious issue to be resolved. That the British Government are collaborating with a right wing government to create bases and develop armaments is more than a threat to Russia, it's a threat to world peace.
John Tyrrell 26/08/2021