The not-very-smart lady who last October put Russians “on notice” that US was looking at “taking out” Russian intermediate-range missiles in a pre-emptive strike, is at it again. This time she is promising NATO will guarantee Ukrainian Navy ships can pass through the Kerch Strait between mainland Russia and Crimea, which since 2014 Russia considers along with Crimea its own territory.
It is as much as saying NATO will guarantee Ukrainian army can return to Crimea. There isn’t any doubt either than Hutchinson is talking about Ukrainian warships (Russians do not interfere with the passage of merchant ships) seeing she says this is specifically in response to the November crisis where Russians prevented Ukrainian Navy vessels from making the passage:
“I think that we have been working on a package to present to the foreign ministers, and it is a package that beefs up the surveillance, both air surveillance as well as more of the NATO country ships going into the Black Sea to assure that there is safe passage from Ukrainian vessels through the Kerch Straits, the Sea of Azov,” she said.
The US representative commented that at present “more attention is needed to guarantee that these waters are liberated” and that the countries in the region are “free from Russian interference”.
“Russia has been deploying defensive weapons in Crimea, but Crimea is part of Ukraine,” Hutchison remarked.
“It is very important that the inhabitants of Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Georgia feel at home in the Black Sea zone, both in the water and on land,” she said, adding that the package of measures is a response to November’s Kerch Strait incident.
“It is unacceptable that Ukrainian sailors are being held in prison in Moscow. We must ensure that we have the ability to restrain Russia’s aggression,” she remarked.
The truth is that NATO can guarantee no such thing, if the Kiev government organizes another attempt to force the entry without filing a request with the Russians, the Russians will fire once again. But it is reckless to talk as if NATO intends to organize or back such an attempt.
The Russian reaction was sheer disbelief somebody could be so saying something so stupid and inflammatory:
“In a negative light,” he [Putin’s spokesman Peskov] said when asked how Kremlin viewed such statements. “We do not understand what that means.”
It is worrying that Americans have some many people in important positions who do not comprehend the consequences of what they are proposing.