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From the attack of ships, until the end of the Treaty of Friendship, we review what happened between Russia and Ukraine
A few weeks ago the tension between Russia and Ukraine rose, due to the attacks of Russian ships that shot and imprisoned 24 Ukrainian sailors, as reported by El Confidencial. Due to the discontent, several Russian citizens tried to set fire to the Russian embassy. According to the Russian version, the Ukrainian ships were in Russian waters and without any permission.
Leer en español: Rusia VS Ucrania: te explicamos la crisis
However, these controls in the Azav Sea have been in operation since the middle of this year and the Russian military is carrying out checks on Ukrainian ships aiming to intimidate and controll them. It should be noted that the area in question, the Strait of Krech, is part of the Crimean peninsula.
But, why is this peninsula so important? Well, for the internationalist Alfredo Jalife in dialogue with teleSur, Crimea is an important territory from the geostrategic point of view. "Being inserted in the Black Sea basin, the whole territory takes on tremendous strategic importance at a military, economic, and commercial level because it is a route that unites the East with the West".
The historical significance of Crimea dates from 1945. In that year, it was part of the Russian Soviet Union until 1954, when the political leader Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev decided that it would become part of Ukraine. However, in 1991 and when the Soviet Union was dissolved Ukraine voted in favor of the independence of Russia, and they succeeded. However, Crimea asked for some autonomy.
According to The Washington Post, they managed to have their own constitution and legislature, they even managed to have their own president. With this, in 1997 both Ukraine and Russia signed a bilateral Treaty of friendship, which formally allowed Russia to maintain its Black Sea fleet.
Nevertheless, the story does not end there. In 2014, Ukraine was plunged into a political crisis, which led to the dismissal of then-President Viktor Yanukovych. In the middle of this revolt, Crimea calls for the intervention of Russia and on March 11, 2014, Crimea proclaims itself independent. Not content with this, a referendum was held a few days later and they agreed to be part of Russia again.
From there, tensions between Ukraine and Russia have increased, because strategic maritime departures, such as the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, have been truncated by Russian military forces.
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Gas, another key point to stoke the crisis
Another key point is the gas that Russia possesses and transports through large viaducts that cross Ukraine. The majority of gas that Europe receives comes from Russia, this being one of the factors why the European Union is not directly involved in the matter.
The Russian power is so supreme that plans are being made to isolate Ukraine from the gas route. And how do they do it? The most important gas company in Russia, Gazprom, started in 2015 the construction of the route "Nord Stream 2", which passes through the Baltics and in 2017 it started with the construction of "Turk Stream" that crosses the Black Sea, as IT reports it. These pipes would reach Europe and be ready by 2020. With two more pipes, it would prevent the 2009 situation: Europe run out of gas.
Despite this, Ukraine has not remained with crossed arms. The Ukrainian gas company, Naftogaz, is buying the same gas that distributes Russia, but to other countries of the European Union, such as Slovakia, as reported by VisualPolitk. The crucial point of this is that when the gas leaves Russia, each country has control over it. Therefore, Ukraine can still buy gas, but not directly from the producing country.
Moreover, the current Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, is not in favor of Russia. Those presidents who have shown some sympathy for the Russian government have received better benefits, such as better gas prices, among others. Poroshenko, who came to power since 2014, is not one of those.
But, Russia is not going to stay still. Next year, Ukraine will held its presidential elections. One of the Russian strategies is to raise a candidate in favor of the Russian government. With this, more problems will be avoided regarding the annexation of Crimea and thus will not put obstacles in the strategic maritime points.
The Treaty of Friendship signed in 1997, which entered into force in 1999 (with automatic renewal every ten years), was suspended by the Ukrainian president, after presenting a bill to annul it, according to Sputnik. Given this, the Russian government regretted this fact and classified it as "destructive".
It will be necessary to hope that commercial consequences will have for Ukraine to annul the Treaty, since already Russia, would not realize any agreement on the Sea of Azov. For the director of the Russian Center of Political Conjuncture, Alexei Chesnakov and in talks with Sputink, the cancellation "will complicate negotiations, already not easy, on the prevention of provocations and the normalization of the situation in the Azov Sea region and the Strait of Kerch. "Thus, Ukraine deprives itself of the right to navigate freely in this region," he said.
LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz
Translated from "Rusia vs Ucrania: te explicamos la crisis"