November 26, 2016 -
By Eduard Popov for Fort Russ - translated by J. Arnoldski -
On November 25th, Ukraine warned of dangerous airspace zones in connection to missile firing training to be carried out on December 1st and 2nd. What’s more, these missile exercises are going to be held in the sovereign airspace of the Russian Federation, in the sky over Crimea. Russia’s federal transport agency, Rosaviatsiya, has already reported this, adding that in such a case all flights to Crimea on these dates will be cancelled. Rosaviatsiya later retracted this report and stated that all civil flights will not be cancelled.
Experts have reported that Kiev has not coordinated these plans with Russian authorities or Russia's air navigation service. This is especially dangerous since state and civilian aircraft actively fly in the zones that are slated for missile firing.
Rosaviatsiya has already appealed to Ukraine with the demand to “immediately cancel all issued notifications.” The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has invited the Ukrainian embassy in Russia’s attache on defense issues to receive a military-diplomatic note. The council of National Security and Defense of Ukraine headed by Aleksandr Turchnyov has called the Russian side’s reaction “hysterical.” It is not entirely clear whether the Kiev regime will actually fire the missiles over Crimea or back down.
The airspace over Crimea is one of the most common routes of both civilian and military aircraft in Eastern Europe. In 2001, it was in none other than this area that Ukrainian missiles shot down a Russian civilian liner with passengers from Russia and Israel. Turchynov’s behavior is offensive to the very memory of the victims of Ukrainian rockets in the past. In fact, to this day Ukraine has not compensated for the material and moral losses of the victims or the Siberia airline company whose liner was shot down. The same can be said about the Malaysian Boeing shot down also on Ukraine’s fault, albeit in a different area.
Therefore, the Russian side’s concerns are justified. It is highly probable that the tragic deaths of foreign citizens and vessels could be repeated on the fault of Ukrainian missiles.
What does Kiev seek to achieve with this provocation? In recent months and weeks (since August, for example), Kiev is testing Moscow’s patience. This manifested itself in the sending of several groups of saboteurs to organize terrorist attacks on the territory of Crimea and in the declared closing of the Northern Crimean channel. Ukraine is in no state to seriously harm Russia, so it is teasing her. It’s difficult to say what there is more of here: pettiness, non-strategic thinking inherent to the Ukrainian mentality, or a desire to provoke Russia to take drastic retaliatory steps. Perhaps the second option speaks to a super-goal and the first to the mental and psychological characteristics of the Ukrainian side.
What can Russia respond with? At first glance, it appears that we have been put in a Zugzwang situation. Imposing a ban on flights is very financially costly and difficult from an organizational point of view. This would also mean playing by the rules set by Ukraine, who could declare that it will be firing missiles indefinitely. On the other hand, not imposing a ban means increasing the risk of repeating the tragedy of the Siberia liner or the Boeing-MH17.
But I am convinced that the situation can be played to the detriment of Ukraine. With its statements, Kiev has added additional arguments to prove the thesis that Ukraine is a terrorist state. Kiev has confirmed that Ukrainian authorities are capable of going so far as to destroy a Malaysian Boeing, which Kiev and the West blamed the militias of Donbass and Russia for. In the least, Ukraine’s government is fully capable of such savagery, which is confirmed by the shooting down of the Russian civilian airliner in 2001 and the announced, or implied, readiness to shoot down civilian aircraft in December 2016.
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