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20 August 2017
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Black Sea Fleet card back on table

 

 A number of irritating clauses in the new edition of the nation’s Military Doctrine turn the strategic document into campaign leaflet, Andriy Starostin wrote in the latest KW issue.

The government has decided to further agitate Ukrainian-Russian relations as on June 8, when President Yanukovych decided to approve the Military Doctrine and the Strategy of the National Security after more than a 1-year delay, numerous discrepancies in official points of view of the two countries regarding defense, domestic and foreign policy became as clear as day.

The two previous editions of the Military Doctrine passed in 1993 and 2004 never mentioned this base and never labeled its operation as a military threat. The new edition struck Sevastopol earnestly and non-declaratively – it contains two new criteria, which Ukraine will interpret as preparations for war against it. The first criterion is “relocation of stations of foreign armed forces located on the territory of Ukraine in compliance with international agreements without prior coordination with Ukraine”. The second criterion is “actions aimed at usage of such military units against third-party countries”. This means that pursuant to the newly passed doctrine the sailing of Russian Black Sea ships and flights of their aircraft against some third-party country will be construed by Ukraine as preparation for war against the host country.

During the 2008 Russo-Georgian War the absence of such a provision in Ukraine was one of the reasons why official Kyiv could not threaten the Russian naval fleet and air force with minefields or radio interference in the event of their attempts to leave the territory of Ukraine to bomb targets in Georgia. Later, the then president Viktor Yushchenko signed decrees that obligated Russia to coordinate navigation of their ships with the Ukrainian side. But in reality such a protocol is not signed and is ignored only in times of peace although Ukraine basically has no levers of influence – except appealing to a third party.

The recently passed Strategy of National Security was another unpleasant surprise for the Kremlin – this document officially assures that Ukraine has no intention of joining the ranks of countries that have recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

For example, the strategy’s clause 4.2.5 said that Ukraine will support international efforts aimed “against intentions to legitimize the status of the self-proclaimed formations on the territory of the countries in the region”.

Simply put, the Doctrine irritates the Russians and could potentially become a reason for discord. The pro-Western voter will be told once again that Ukraine chooses the path that leads to Europe. Pro-Russia voters can expect new treaties in the near future. After all who can stop Ukraine from introducing the necessary changes to the Military Doctrine and refusing to sign agreements that contradict this document, Starostin concludes .

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