The war in Syria has successfully distracted world attention from Ukraine, and to the extent the outside world expresses any interest, it generally concerns Russian actions on land – in eastern Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula. But Russian interests in keeping Ukraine within Moscow’s orbit largely concern natural resources in Ukraine’s territorial waters – especially natural gas – and according to one expert at least, Russia is now quietly putting in place a blockade in the Black Sea to prevent Ukraine from controlling its own maritime energy resources.
17 December 2015 ~ Politolog.net
The Russian Federation has begun to capture parts of the Ukrainian economic zone of the sea, creating the arc of a naval blockade with the aim of cutting Ukraine off from maritime links. Such conclusions can be drawn from the fact that the installation of Russian oil extraction equipment within 55 kilometers of Snake Island and 100 kilometers from the coast of Odessa region.
Media expert and journalist Alexander Poddubniy writes about this on his political commentary blog, as reported by Press of Ukraine.
‘Russia’s logic is simple: by seizing the Odessa gas field (the yellow triangle on the big map), Russia automatically declares the territory its economic zone. Russia does not need a separate Odessa field without underwater gas pipelines, and—as seen in the smaller map—it is connected to Crimea by a gas pipeline (through the Golitsyn gas condensate field). That is, Moscow takes the territorial waters surrounding the gas communications by the appropriate military seizure. Russia will treat any attempts to counter this as “encroachment on its territorial integrity,”’ says Poddubniy.
Analyzing the images on a large-scale map, the expert notes that the Russian Federation is leaving Ukraine a narrow 55-mile isthmus between Snake Island and the Odessa gas field, which can be used for navigation and access to the Bosporus. The journalist suggests troubles that could soon affect Ukraine due to the actions of Russia in the Black Sea.
‘For modern military equipment, and even more for cruise missiles, this is an extremely small distance. Ukraine will thus be in maritime isolation. This will make it impossible, for example, to supply Ukraine with South African coal, which is essential for surviving the winter season. It also covers the Ukrainian ports of Odessa and Mykolaiv regions, which would create the necessary economic and social grounds for further Russian occupation of southern Ukraine,’ says Poddubniy.
He also claims that in this case the Ukrainian authorities must act with extreme decisiveness: ‘not with diplomatic notes,’ and directly demand from our active allies in the US ‘dispatch of its warships to the Black Sea’ to restore control over the Odessa gas field. The expert warns that, if the moment is lost, ‘the world will not help a country, which dutifully watches as its territory is taken away.’ It is precisely in the coming days that Kyiv will be obliged to keep its promise ‘to shoot down Russian planes if they violate the airspace of Ukraine.’
‘How does the seizure of Ukrainian territorial waters differ from airplanes? In both cases we are talking about aggression against Ukraine. Kyiv has very little time to resolve the problem of the sea, or the consequences will be catastrophic,’ summarizes the expert.