Russia and Ukraine Spar Over the Kerch Strait

The main issue here is Ukrainian fragility, not Russian aggression.

Jacob L. Shapiro |November 26, 2018

Russia forcibly blocked three Ukrainian naval vessels from crossing the Kerch Strait into the Sea of Azov on Sunday. Both countries are blaming each other for the incident: Ukraine accuses Russia of blocking its access to the sea, while Russia accuses Ukraine of illegally entering its territorial waters. (The Kerch Strait lies off the eastern tip of Russia-controlled Crimea.) Whatever the case, the Ukrainian ships have been seized and at least three Ukrainian sailors were injured in the incident. Russia temporarily cut off access to the Kerch Strait (it has since been restored) and called an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council for later today.

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Comparisons to the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, in which Russia used Georgian provocations to justify military action in Georgia, are hard to avoid. The reality, however, is more complicated than this. True, Russia has been slowly solidifying its position in Crimea since March 2014 and appears to be preparing for pot

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