Ukraine, Crimea, Kerch Strait discussed on PRI's The World
I'm Marco werman. You're with the world the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been on a slow burn for the last couple of years that is until yesterday. Russian warplanes and ships attacked and sees three ships of Ukraine's navy after they approach waters claimed by Russia in response. Ukraine's government is declaring martial law in border regions. Sunday's clash took place in a vital seaway. Call the Kerch strait. Alina Polyakova is a fellow at the Brookings Institution. The Kerch strait has been a issue of serious contention ever since Russia's illegal annexation and contain ocupation of Crimea twenty fourteen because it is a body of water through which Ukrainian Russian and other ships have to pass to get for example, let's say from Istanbul. If you want to make a shipment directly to a port in southeastern Ukraine, you have to pass through the Kurt straight, and it's relatively narrow passageways. So it is, you know, very ripe for potential accidents for conflict. So it is a significant. Commercial passageway that is critical to the Korean economy. I mean, it's not far from where the fighting has been happening since two thousand fourteen how is this event in the Kerch strait and the fighting in eastern, Ukraine. How are they connected since? Russia took control of Crimea, the Russian government to much fanfare has now built a bridge that connects mainland Russia over the Kerch straight to Crimea, which allows Russia to supply Crimea with food and other resources. What's been happening on land on Ukrainian land tour? Tori, not in the maritime territory is that Russia has seemed to desire to have a land bridge. I'm all the way to Crimea. Because even with the construction of the bridge that does connect Russia to Crimea. It is still difficult to get other things like electricity and water to Crimea. And it is costing the Russian federation quite a bit of money to continue have to go over this bridge and to use water. As especially so it's a potential strategy on the Russian side to try to put more pressure on Medupi's, especially so they can over time even take over that land territory and have access to Crimea via land versus via water. Isn't it totally illegal? Yes. Yes, glad we cleared that up. What is your sense of who actually started this? Well, we know that is typical Russian strategy not just in the Ukraine conflict. But also going all the way back two thousand eight with the Russian war with Georgia. It's to provoke with a initial aggressive move that seems relatively minor ramming a small Ukrainian tugboat, for example, which is what happened in the last few days, then any sort of response from the other side is then used as an excuse to commence, much, more, direct, military aggression. And this is exactly the kind of pattern that was seen developed today with this esscalation in the as OC and the cart straight. So this is part of the Kremlin's playbook. We've seen this movie before I think the big question now is will the international community respond in a much more sort of way than we've seen back. Let's say in two thousand eight with the Russian warned Georgia so do. You see this turning into a war? And would it be a clash between the actual armed forces of both Russia and Ukraine deep potential for a full out war of that nature is unlikely first of all the Ukrainians are no match for Russian naval military might in the sea of us. They're completely outflanked and outmatched. And then the Russian side there is also not much incentive to have a full blown out why which could potentially involve other world powers like the United States or even your up. But that's not something that the Russian people would want. I don't think that's something live in leadership. But one I think what is much more likely is that we're going to see this slow burning continued aggression that we've been seeing on land in Ukraine now happening in the c- last thing just curious to know Alina what you think whether whether Putin felt kind of substantially emboldened by Trump's kind of whatever response to what happened to Jamaica Shoji. That's an interesting question. I think certainly President Trump's stated desire to stand by Saudi Arabia in light of this quite brutal murder has sent a signal to Putin that President Trump will likely stand by him as well. I hope that is not true..