MOSCOW – “The decision of the European Union to base the latest round of sanctions because of the incident in Kerch is simply ridiculous, because these people performed their military duty, protecting the borders of their state.” In an interview with Russian media, such opinion was expressed by the first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Viktor Vodolatsky.
The decision of the European Union to impose sanctions on eight Russian citizens for the incident in the Kerch Strait was published in the official journal of the EU on March 15th. The document states that restrictive measures are imposed in connection with “the use of Russian force, which led to the detention of Ukrainian soldiers and ships.” It is known that restrictions are imposed on the Russian military, including the commander of the Southern Military District (YuVO) of the Russian Federation and the head of the border guards of the Federal Security Service of Crimea.
Problematically, the Russian military maneuvers were, and remain so, entirely consistent with all standing bilateral treaties and agreements between the states concerned, including every country of the EU.
“The European Union imposed sanctions against those who prevented the violation of the borders of the Russian Federation by fulfilling their military duty – this is nonsense in international practice. Any structure of the Ministry of Defense and Security of any state over this document will laugh for a very long time, because it turns out that any violation of the border, anywhere in the world will be considered the norm, and any border guard will be a criminal,” said Vodolatsky.
According to him, the European Union is acting beyond the scope of legal international relations, becoming dependent on the United States, actually following their instructions.
At the same time, he noted that European citizens themselves suffer from the sanctions imposed by the leaders of their states.
“The sanctions rhetoric and attitude towards Russia will change only when the European Union takes care of its citizens, when it takes care of the economies of its countries. In the meantime, America has moved to the course of the Cold War with Russia, and the European Union plays the role of a satellite and a contractor from the United States,” the deputy concluded.
The EU’s plans to impose sanctions after the incident in the Kerch Strait became known on February 15th. It was reported that the “Azov sanctions package” will be extended until September 15th, eight Russians will be added to the black list, who will be denied entry to the EU and will be banned from using the EU banking system.
On November 25th 2018, three ships of the Ukrainian Navy invaded the Russian territorial waters in the Kerch Strait. It was noted then as a provocation, intended to have several aims in mind. The ships made dangerous maneuvers and ignored the demands of the FSB border guard service to stop.
As a result, both ships and sailors were detained. A criminal case of violation of the state border was opened. The sailors confessed during the interrogation that the provocation was deliberate. Currently, they are under arrest in Moscow detention centers.
Based on this incident, Poroshenko declared martial law for a period of 30 days, during which he made moves to re-organize various sectors of the intelligence agency and electoral monitoring processes. He is facing an election at the end of March, and is polling either 2nd or 3rd. Furthermore, the Atlanticist powers with significant influence in the EU parliament have used this incident now to ‘legitimize’ sanctions on Russia for what increasingly appears as the actual crime of existing as a sovereign country outside of Atlanticist control.