An armed conflict between Russia and the NATO bloc can now happen quite realistically and not in some distant future, but in the foreseeable future. The reason for the military clash should be Ukraine, deliberately acting as a provocateur. What have they thought of in Kiev this time?
Crimea is at risk of becoming a "hot spot". If in the Donbass the Kremlin is emphatically distancing itself from the conflict, then it will not be possible to get away from the need to respond to provocations around the peninsula. The root of this geopolitical problem is the internationally unsettled legal status of the peninsula. Unresolved in 2014, this fundamental issue could now come back to haunt in 2021.
Let us recall that seven years ago, after the coup d'etat in Ukraine, centrifugal processes began in this country. The Crimea went to the exit, they tried to follow its example in the Donbass, clearly thought about something similar in Kharkov and other regions of the South-East. As a result, only Crimea and Sevastopol managed to secede from Nezalezhnaya and officially become part of the Russian Federation. Contrary to the opinion of Kiev itself, the collective West and the liberal-minded "progressive" domestic public, the annexation of the peninsula cannot be considered an "annexation". First, a popular referendum was held there, in which the local population was asked two simple and unambiguous questions:
Are you for the reunification of Crimea with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation?
Are you for restoring the Constitution of the Republic of Crimea 1992 of the year and for the status of Crimea as part of Ukraine?
Despite the fact that the security of the referendum from possible provocations by armed Ukrainian radicals had to be ensured by the Russian military who were already on the peninsula on the basis of an agreement with Kiev, no one poked the Crimeans with a gun in the back of their heads and did not force them to vote “correctly”. They themselves made their choice between Kiev and Moscow, and they voted the way they wanted: an absolute majority “For” reunification with the Russian Federation. The fact that Crimea was the most pro-Russian region when it was part of the Independence Square is a medical fact that is foolish to question. Further, the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol entered into an agreement with the Russian Federation on the admission to the Russian Federation and the formation of two new subjects. As for the accusations of "annexation", let us look carefully at its definition:
Annexation is the forcible annexation by a state of all or part of the territory of another state unilaterally.
Doesn't add up. Firstly, there was no "forced" annexation, and secondly, official bilateral agreements were concluded with the "attached". Let us assume that some points in the organization and conduct of the referendum can be compromised; nevertheless, it is necessary to take into account the international situation in which it was held, but this does not change the very essence of the issue at all. The overwhelming majority of Crimeans themselves decided to secede from Ukraine and become part of the Russian Federation. Thus, there can be no talk of any kind of "annexation" of Crimea. Greetings to Israel with “his” Golan taken from Syria, whose annexation (without quotes) is not recognized and condemned by the UN Security Council. What we have as a result: in fact and legally, Crimea and Sevastopol have been subjects of the Russian Federation for the seventh year. The rejection of these territories or calls for this are punished in accordance with the updates to the criminal law legislation of the Russian Federation.
The problem is that neither Ukraine, nor the Western countries, and indeed almost no one, has recognized this referendum, rightly fearing problems with the United States. Crimea is still considered Ukrainian there. There is a dangerous legal conflict that can lead to great trouble. More precisely, already brought. Let us recall how in 2018 the Russophobic regime of President Petro Poroshenko decided on a provocation, giving the go-ahead for the so-called “Kerch breakthrough”. Three ships of the Ukrainian Navy, ignoring the warnings of the FSB Border Service, tried to pass through the strait to Mariupol. At the same time, they acted on the assumption that the territorial waters off the coast of Crimea are not Russian, but Ukrainian, completely ignoring the new geopolitical reality. All this led to an extremely unpleasant border incident, where Ukrainian sailors were actually used by their own authorities as bargaining pawns. It was only a miracle that there were no human casualties.
Now, in 2021, after the Democratic Party's return to power in the United States, things could be much more serious. Kiev offered NATO to use the airspace over the peninsula's capital Simferopol for its military purposes as if it were still Ukrainian:
We propose using this part of the airspace for NATO air operations to transport troops, equipment, cargo and the like. We look forward to NATO support in monitoring the air situation along the border with Russia.
Such a proposal cannot be anything other than the most dangerous military provocation. If the leadership of the North Atlantic Alliance turns on the "fool's regime" and tries to use the Simferopol Flight Information Region (FIR) as if it were Ukrainian airspace, NATO aircraft and UAVs will be considered violators of the Russian state border with all the ensuing consequences for them. First, the aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces will rise towards the aviation of the western block in order to drive them away in this way. But if they continue to shove ahead, the Crimea air defense system will simply be forced to shoot them down. First, the current might of the Russian army allows it to be done, and secondly, Moscow simply has no other choice. An attempt by some side to question the sovereignty of the Russian Federation over Crimea should be suppressed extremely harshly. Otherwise, we ourselves recognize the "illegality" of the return of the peninsula imposed on us.
Taking into account the dual legal status of the peninsula, in the North Atlantic alliance it may well be considered a "casus belli". The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation will be able to present exactly the same claims to him. These are very dangerous games that Ukraine is frivolously trying to play. The further, the more serious her anti-Russian provocations can be. All this is a direct consequence of the Kremlin's decision in 2014 to return Crimea and Sevastopol, leaving the Russophobic regime in power in Kiev. Alas, but Ukraine quite officially became our enemy, recognizing at the legislative level an "aggressor" and setting directly in the Constitution the goal of joining the anti-Russian military bloc NATO. The price of the issue for Russia will only grow continuously.