For those of you just waking up, there were developments overnight after an outright naval battle between ships of the Ukraine and Russian Navies yesterday at the Kerch Strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
First and foremost, the strait of Kerch has be re-opened to commercial shipping. (HT Remark: This was an urgent first step and Russia was wise, mature, balanced, and responsible to take this step so quickly after the battle.)
The three Ukraine naval vessels captured in the battle have been placed in-port at Kerch, Russia. They are pictured below from sources in Russia:
For some reason, those ships are being camouflaged this morning:
Other developments include a United States Air Force Boeing RC-135 tracked flying in the Black Sea near the area where yesterday's battle took place:
The Crete-based US spy plane entered the Black Sea area on Monday morning after a standoff between Ukraine and Russia over a strait that separates it from the Sea of Azov, the Ukrainian military portal reported.
The Boeing RC-135V reconnaissance plane left the US naval base at Souda Bay on Crete at 05:50 GMT and headed east, the portal said.
The electronic intelligence aircraft was reportedly in Bulgarian airspace as of 06:30 GMT and flying toward the Crimean peninsula, a Russian territory in the Black Sea.
In addition, a United States RQ-4 Drone was tracked over the Black Sea this morning (FILE PHOTO below, not from today):
Ministers from Canada and Germany called on both Ukraine and Russia to de-escalate, pointing out that BOTH countries enjoy states rights of passage in/out of the Sea of Azov.
A meeting of the United Nations Security Council will take place here in New York City beginning at 11:00 AM today (Monday).
According to the General Staff of the Ukraine military, all elements of Ukrainian military force are now on FULL COMBAT ALERT.
(HT Remark: Going to war with Russia would simply be suicide by Ukraine. Perhaps they "have heart" to take such a stand, but in reality, they wouldn't stand a chance -- at all -- and would lose their whole country in less than 72 hours against Russia. )
For its part, Russia says that the incident yesterday was, in fact, a planned provocation designed to give the West reason to enact more Sanctions against Russia, or to coax Russia into commencing a hot war. Russia says it will not take the bait.
"Moscow has protested Kiev’s “planned” breach of Russian waters in the Kerch Strait and cautioned Ukraine’s foreign backers against blowing the incident out of proportion. Russia will “strongly” respond to similar “provocations.”
“Russia has repeatedly warned the Kiev regime and its Western supporters that fanning up the hysteria over the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait was dangerous. It’s obvious that there was a provocation, carefully planned in terms of location and form, which is aimed at flaring up yet another point of conflict in the region and creating a new pretext to impose more sanctions against Russia.”
Kiev has used the clash to justify declaring martial law – something Moscow says only benefits Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ahead of the March elections. Poroshenko has been struggling to campaign for re-election, with his popularity decimated by harsh economic problems and recent corruption scandals"
Additional Updates to appear below . . .
Poroshenko is currently on the phone to jens stoltenberg - NATO Secretary General
What response, if any, will NATO make?
(HT REMARKS: I think this is the one that will be watched heavily by Russia...
Of course NATO isn't about to go to war over a Tug boat but what support if any they give will likely be met by Russia's own movements.
My best worst case guess would be Donbass lights up and Porky starts an offensive there, while the US, FUKUS or maybe NATO as an organisation provides training and equipment to further lock down Russia and use this as a reason to increase a presence in Ukraine as part of a partnership program.
Russia may say fuck it and roll 10 rows deep to the Dniper river.")
Looks as though the France/UK/US (FUKUS) intends to escalate against Russia . . . in Syria. A slew of military aircraft have taken off from ISRAEL and are ominously operating in the skies near (but not in) Syria this morning:
IAF G550 Nachshon Shavit #738A4A
IAF G550 Nachshon Shavit #738A49
IAF C-130H Hercules #738A81
IAF KC-707 3P1C #738A41
IAF 707-300 #738A01
USNAVY P-8A #AE57BF
A Martial law decree was signed by President Poroshenko and is in effect now until January 25.
It instructs Ministry Of Defense (MoD) to call up first-phase reservists & General Staff to immediately organize air defense. Also calls to strengthen anti-terrorism measures & information security.
More updates to follow . . . .
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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has halved his proposal for martial law in the country to 30 days, an apparent concession to opponents.
The reduction means that Ukrainian authorities can call the presidential election at the end of December, giving enough time for it to take place at the end of March as expected.
Poroshenko said in a televised address that he has decided to cut the suggested timeframe from 60 days.
His original proposal was criticized by opponents as an attempt by Poroshenko to scrap the elections at a time when his own approval ratings are low.
The proposal comes in the wake of Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian navy vessels and their crews near Russian-occupied Crimea.
The Ukrainian parliament is expected to vote on Poroshenko’s motion later.
UN UPDATE -- Emergency UNSC meeting began at 11:15 AM here in New York City. US in coordination with other nations has urged nations to vote against Russia's proposed agenda.
Russia's proposed agenda has failed, 4 votes for, 7 votes against, 4 votes abstain.
11:35 AM EST -- UNSC meeting adjourned, no progress made towards resolving the crisis. Russia's ambassador to the UN gave rambling speech after refusing to give remarks in protest due to failure of his proposed agenda.
At UNSC, Nikki Haley denounced Russia's actions in the Kerch Strait, saying "this is no way for a law-abiding civilized nation to act."
NATO Head Stoltenberg says all NATO allies expressed full support with Ukraine, calls on Russia to release immediately Ukrainian ships and sailors.
BLACK FRIDAY - CYBER MONDAY SALES