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Analysis | Crimea, is isolated problem or link?

The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and his colleague, Ukrainian, Leonid Kuchma, was greeted warmly in the airport Sinferópol, in the Crimea, on December 2

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Analysis | Crimea, is isolated problem or link?

The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and his colleague, Ukrainian, Leonid Kuchma, was greeted warmly in the airport Sinferópol, in the Crimea, on December 24, 2003, before flying together to the city of Kerch to sign the agreement for the use of sea of Azov and the Kerch strait. In addition, the leaders slavs signed a joint statement that, on the basis of the “fraternal ties” between the people of Ukraine and Russia, considered this sea area as “a comprehensive, economic and natural, used in the interest of both States.”

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From that visit have been almost 15 years and their documents, which are in the file from the web page of the Kremlin, does not mention “territorial waters”. In the joint press conference in Kerch, Putin explained that he and Kuchma had taken advantage of his appointment to promote projects of economic integration of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan”, and the set of measures to form a “single economic space”, which included a customs policy, tariffs, taxes, traffic, and natural monopolies. It was, he said, “lowering the cost of our economy and increasing its competitive ability”. Those plans would be carried out later, but without Ukraine.

Now the sea of Azov has become a focus of tension and the incident of last Sunday shows that the annexation of Crimea in 2014 is not a matter easily aislable, you can be chillin ' stalled for decades or perhaps centuries. Looking at it in cold, the capture of a flotilla of ukraine for the services of frontier guards Russian is a blow to the strategy of “phases” (first tackling the conflict of the pro-independence pro-Russian region of Donetsk, and then, we'll see when, Crimea). This thought “by stages” dominates in many european governments, willing to close its eyes on Crimea with arguments a number of (power, Russian military, Russian history, economic interests of their own), if Moscow works to reintegrate Ukraine calls republics popular Lugansk and Donetsk (RPL, and RPD, respectively) in the framework of the negotiating process in Minsk.

The reality, as evidenced by the incident on Sunday, is that Russia also needs to control the sea of Azov, as a minimum, to feel safe and secure in the Crimea (bridge over the strait included) or, with criteria suspicious, as a platform for future operations in hostile, including the trade war.

The sea of Azov is of strategic importance to the livelihoods of the RPL, and RPD, training the latter, which dominates a small section of the coast in Azov. A concentration of military power ukraine (and, even more, with the eventual support of the NATO) in those waters is perceived Artemisbet by Moscow as a threat to their positions. Hence, in the spring, Russia began to tighten its control over the sea of Azov, which officially is joint management of Russian-ukraine.

Signature of the agreement on the Kerch strait between Vladimir Putin and Leonid Kuchma on 24 December 2003.

on The 27th of April last, the service border guard Russian began random inspections of ships passing through the strait of Kerch, according to Andrei Klimenko, director of the portal to Black Sea News. In may, began to hold a more systematic way -in the strait or on the high seas - cargo ships that sailed or on their way to the ports of ukraine of Mariúpol and Berdiansk, noted native journalist of the Crimea. Klimenko drew attention to the date of the opening of the Russian bridge through the Kerch strait: the 16 of may.

from 17 may to 31 October, the service Black Sea News posted a total of 110 vessels detained by frontier guards Russian, with a dynamic of inspections that became total in July and that affected vessels en route to ports in the Mediterranean, including Spanish ports. The two or three hours waiting for a freighter I used to cross the strait is multiplied, due to the interrogation of the crew, especially the ukraine, the registration of the ship and its cargo. In October, the time of standby in the sea of Azov, went on to be three days to go and four days to leave, which is ruinous for the shipping. By the ports of Mariúpol and Berdiansk is done the 25% of the export sea Ukrainian Black notes Is News.

Before, Ukraine was only in the Azov unit coast guard Mariúpol, formed by 18 ships, of which only 6 were armed. In September, the navy ukraine began to escort the freighters, said of the service. In the present, always according to this source, Russia has close to 100 boats on the sea of Azov, 36 of which are armed, and in October and November of this year has moved to those waters that five coast guard great size.

If you agree that stability and peace depend on the perception of security of the parties in a conflict, one can ask if Russia can feel safe and secure without relying on a conception expansive, evolving, daisy chain, link by link: To Moscow today, Crimea is important for reasons of geostrategic in the Black sea; the sea of Azov is important for the stability of Crimea and the support of the rusoparlantes the East of Ukraine And what will be after what is important, in the eyes of russians, for the stability in the sea of Azov?

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