Kerch strait confrontation extrapolated to entire European security system
Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed in a telephone conversation the dangerous incident that took place in the Sea of Azov – Black Sea area on November 25. Putin said that Ukraine's actions were provocative, leading to gross violations of international law by its warships, which deliberately disregarded the rules of innocent passage in the territorial sea of the Russian Federation. He also expressed over Kiev’s decision to put its armed forces on combat alert and impose martial law. Moscow believes that the Ukrainian authorities bear full responsibility for creating yet another conflict situation and for the attendant risks, all this has been clearly done in the context of the election campaign in Ukraine. Putin expressed hope that Berlin would use its influence on the Ukrainian authorities to stop it from taking further reckless steps.
"The Kerch strait confrontation is extrapolated to the entire European security system, which is very shaky, and we should not shake it up further," the head of the Center for International Security at Institute of World Economy and International Relations, professor at the Moscow State University Sergei Oznobishchev believes.
"Unfortunately, in recent years, Europe has evolved from a rather calm and stable in terms of security continent to a virtually hot spot - something happens every day there. We must preserve the security structure, the system of agreements on arms limitation and reduction, the achievement of which took many decades by the parties' huge efforts. Today it is, first of all, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The United States hasn't said the last word yet, so we can continue our dialogue," the expert is confident.
He focused on the fact that it was stressed during U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton's recent visit to Moscow, who traditionally advocates lifting restrictions in this area, that President Trump has the last say on the INF Treaty. "Perhaps there will be some good news at the upcoming Putin-Trump meeting. But Europe has a very important role in maintaining the INF Treaty, preserving the entire system of arms limitation and reduction. Trump will not be a political leader forever. Perhaps, he will win a second term in office, but it will be six years of completely unusual, unforeseen security concerns at most, because Trump surprises us almost every day. But political leaders are never perfect. There's always something wrong for us. We should be working to find loopholes and expand our opportunities," Oznobischev said.
He called on Europeans to raise the issue of inability and undesirability of deploying any nuclear missile systems in Europe. "Initially, it was said that the European missile defense is not deployed against Russia, but against single random launches of third countries, primarily Iran. Since then, we have very seriously moved towards closing Iran's nuclear combat program, if they had such. If we continue on this path, then limitations of its missile programs also cannot be ruled out. We all welcome the determination with which the Europeans stood up for the JCPOA, when Washington put this plan at risk."