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Britain wants to turn Ukraine into its stronghold but now realizes its limitations in the Black Sea

By Paul Antonopoulos, | June 28, 2021

Kiev and London have signed a Memorandum of Intent in the field of military shipbuilding. The partnership envisions joint design, as well as the construction of ships and naval bases in Ukraine. If the plan comes to fruition, this could maybe pose as a security risk for Russia in the Black Sea as NATO countries will have access to newly constructed naval bases, but after last week’s incident, London has likely come to the realization that its power is limited.

The memorandum was signed on the British Royal Navy HMS Defender frigate in the Ukrainian city of Odessa, just two days before the UK provoked a near-crisis by violating Russian territorial waters. The “Defender” intentionally violated Russian borders, resulting in the Russian military firing warning shots and forcing the British warship to change its course. The incident was such an embarrassment for the British that they are still denying Russia’s strong reaction.

If new naval bases are built in Ukraine, it would be to serve the ships of non-Black Sea NATO countries, such as the U.S. and the UK. It must be stressed though that for now this is a memorandum, which is not binding, and thus it calls into question its implementation.

Signing the memorandum on behalf of the UK, Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin said: “The UK and Ukraine have a close defence relationship, and we continue to strengthen this partnership to help deter shared threats” and “I am delighted that British and Ukrainian industry will work together on these projects, which will provide world-leading capabilities and provide opportunities for both our nations to boost our shipbuilding enterprises.”

London has long been strengthening cooperation with Kiev in the defense sector in its attempt to create a stronghold for itself in the region – this is to spread its influence and spy on Russia. With UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempting to build a “Global Britain”, creating a stronghold in Ukraine is part of its long-term strategy given London’s belief that it is a powerbroker all across Europe. London sees the post-Soviet space as one of the regions where British influence should expand. However, as last week’s incident between the Russian and British Navies demonstrated, the UK is not even remotely close to achieving a “Global Britain.”

The main message of the memorandum is to demonstrate Britain’s power. However, Russia, as another global player, is perceived as a direct competitor and this is why British authorities are attempting to weaken it. Ukraine is a suitable stronghold for British ambitions against Russia given the pervasive and obsessive Russophobic ideology that permeates Kiev. Therefore, London is just merely using Kiev for its own interests.

The British provocation in Russian territorial waters last week was an attempt to portray the British Navy as a global power in the 21st century. However, even U.S. President Joe Biden was not impressed with London’s action, but none-the-less, was still accused of emboldening Russia. Sources told The Telegraph that the U.S. decided against sailing close to Crimea alongside the British.

According to media reports, London and Kiev plan to build eight missile boats. In addition, the Ukrainian Navy could get two modern British minesweepers in a joint project with Ukrainian companies. It was announced that the work will be financed by Britain, and Kiev hopes that British experts will complete the “Vladimir the Great” corvette. The parties expect to confirm the agreements in August.

When it comes to bases, it is assumed that one could be built on the Sea of ​​Azov, and the other on the Black Sea. Keeping in mind the condition of the Ukrainian fleet, experts estimate that Ukraine does not need two new military bases, especially since serious military shipbuilding has not existed in the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Ukrainian fleet is nearly obsolete, with most vessels stemming back to the Soviet era, along with only a few gunboats from the U.S.

The signing of the memorandum was done in order to strengthen the general impression that Britain is not only an independent player, but also an important ally of Ukraine. However, London would be seriously considering their capabilities in the Black Sea, especially since the signing of the memorandum was done before their provocations against Russia spectacularly failed and embarrassed the country to the extent that they had to deny that such an event occurred.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

June 28, 2021 - Posted by | Militarism | , ,

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