Craig Murray: Black Ops in the Black Sea

The former British ambassador reacts to news that Russia fired warning shots at a British destroyer on Wednesday that entered the territorial waters of Crimea, still claimed by Ukraine. 

HMS Defender. (Royal Navy)

Russia said Wednesday it had fired warning shots at a British warship that had entered its territorial waters. The British Ministry of Defense has denied the incident took place, saying, “No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender. The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.”

By Craig Murray

Sometimes it is worth stating the obvious. The United Kingdom does not have a coast in the Black Sea. British warships are not infesting the Black Sea out of a peaceful intent, and there is no cause for them to be entering disputed waters close to anybody’s coast. This is not a question of freedom of navigation under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea. There is nowhere that a British warship can be heading from the UK under the right of innocent passage that would require it to pass through coastal waters by Crimea. The Black Sea is famously a cul-de-sac.

I expect we will now be in for a mad frenzy of Russophobia, yet again. I shall comment further once I have more details of why and exactly where Russia was firing warning shots. But just remember this, it was not Russian warships near the British coast, it was British warships in an area where they had no business other than ludicrous, British nationalist, sabre-rattling.

The UK needs to lose its imperial delusions. Sending gunboats to the Crimea is as mad as – well, sailing an aircraft carrier expressly to threaten the Chinese. There are those who see this activity as evidence of the UK’s continued great power status. I see it as evidence of lunacy.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. His coverage is entirely dependent on reader support. Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

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31 comments for “Craig Murray: Black Ops in the Black Sea

  1. Donald Duck
    June 25, 2021 at 03:39

    ”The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.” Yes, of course it was! Tell that to the marines!

  2. E Wright
    June 25, 2021 at 02:41

    It is of course necessary for England (I’ll use the country name that Americans use) to demonstrate its loyalty to Washington less Biden pushes his Irish agenda too strongly. The Tories certainly know that one rook and one pawn do not a navy maketh. The Russians are also well aware of Albion’s perfidy and will use their own methods to retaliate. A personal attack on the wealth of a Tory grandee is always more satisfying.

  3. June 24, 2021 at 11:26

    We are witnessing not only the collapse of Anglo imperial hegemony but also the collapse of the Western notion of Empire. Thousands of years in the making, with the US capitalist empire being its latest and greatest implementation, Western Empire is proving to be a failed project.

  4. June 24, 2021 at 11:19

    How would Britain like the Russians in the English channel? But Britain has a short memories they forget what the Russians did for Britain we should have a great respect for the Russian Goverment and the Russian people .It now makes me feel that the AMERICANS are running Britain ,the British Government have lost all control of this country .

    • Donald Duck
      June 24, 2021 at 17:00

      The US has been running Britain since the loan of 1946. According to no less a personage as Michael Hudson, ”The first loan on the post-war agenda which, President Truman announced in forwarding it to Congress, would set the course of American and British economic relations for many years to come. He was right, for the Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelt the end of Britain as a Great Power.” Then followed the 1956 Suez fiasco, when the UK’s subaltern status was made perfectly clear by the Americans. As the Iranians were to put it, the Little Satan followed in the footsteps of the Great Satan.

  5. Donald Duck
    June 24, 2021 at 10:51

    I just wonder just how long the Russians are going to stand for these quite open provocations. Sooner or later the must either surrender or square up to the Empire. NATO seems intent on engineering this policy as far as it can with the Americans in the rear calling the shots. This policy is made in the USA with the pathetic vassals in Euroland doing their part in destabilizing their own interests on their own doorstep. Now that I am an old age pensioner, my time on this planet is somewhat limited. I just feel for those whose futures are in the hands of certifiable schizophrenics and just the plain stupid.

  6. Frank Lambert
    June 24, 2021 at 10:24

    Imperialism is a byproduct of capitalism, as the capitalist has no allegiance to a nation or its people, but to the profit system, and will go to extremes in their insatiable desire, for more and more wealth, competing with one another in can amass the most wealth.

    The U.S. and Western Europe built the Chinese economy, and now cry foul because of China’s success. On Russia, the United States and the vassal nations on the European continent follow Washington ‘D.C.’s orders. “NATO” is equivalent to the professional hired killers of the former national crime syndicate and Mafia in the U.S. in the 1930’s and 40’s which the FBI called “Murder Incorporated.”

    The U.S. has missile bases aimed at Russia all along the former Warsaw Pact nations, but the prostituted big corporate media conglomerates consistently blab about “Russian aggression” rather than American hegemony to dominate the planet with the “Full Spectrum Dominance” plan for control of the world. Remember the “Wolfowitz Doctrine?”

    It’s very scary, with this latest provocation in the Black Sea. Russia will use hydrogen bombs to defend itself if attacked. The Anglo-American Empire may have to learn the hard way that peace and cooperation is better than war and confrontation.

  7. June 24, 2021 at 09:46

    Let’s all take a deep breath and consider this.
    When Hitler and Stalin (I think that was his name) decided to split up Poland it was like the devil dealing with his brother.
    Wiser minds already know not to make a deal with the devil and this why I have hope for the future.
    Stupid monarchs whose numbers die off more and more day after day should realize this is the 21st century and those old games and old ideas proven wrong lead to a dead end road. So, let me ask you if you are a Monarch in your own imagination – do you love your children? I hope so, but guess what, merit is what matters, and if they are a bunch of bleeding dimwits then they will be dispatched.

  8. rick
    June 24, 2021 at 09:45

    Is this dangerous naval incursion military grandstanding by the “New Global” UK power elite to infuse fresh blood into the post Navalny/Skripal Russo phobia narrative or is the “attack dog” for the US going AWOL to discredit Biden’s support for the Minsk agreement? Is this a precursor for Operation Cossack Mace the Ukranian/British/NATO training exercise scheduled for the summer in Ukraine? The Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) has made it clear that the joint training exercise would consist of defensive operations followed by an offensive attack against not only against separatist-controlled Donbass but Russian forces as well. Leadership of this exercise by the brits suggests it could be used to ramp up tension with Russia, give the UAF a morale boost and implicate NATO in its planning and execution. The danger of these provocations should be understood in the context of U.K. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace’s statements on the new Integrated Defence and Security Review that the British Military will no longer be held as a force of last resort, but become [a] more present and active force around the world and this would involve “moving seamlessly from operating to warfighting”.

  9. bluedogg
    June 24, 2021 at 07:15

    England is like a little boy who thinks the bully is going to protect him so will do anything, and as long as the bully has it’s perverted type of capitalism nothing willl change..

    • June 24, 2021 at 10:05

      Yeah. Correct. I agree. And to think the bully now is the one who put the bully then in its place.
      Bullies always get their due and this time I’m sensing, even though I have no freaking idea what is coming, I’m sensing the bully is fixing to get due payment for the bullying behavior that the vast majority of every day folks, myself included, are effing fucking sick of. For eff sake, a building just collapsed in Florida and suggest infrastructure issues are much worse that acknowledged not to mention the whole global weather anomalies and such, and one must ponder – is this what the leaders want to get engaged in? Another useless conflict that does nothing for the People living day by day?
      Jesus H Christ – enough is enough you stupid psychopaths – we are onto your games and your lies and your propaganda and when I say “we” I don’t mean you. I mean those amongst, whose numbers are growing exponentially, who have just had it with poor government.
      At the end of WWII, a bunch of sickos, obviously they all had PTSD, who could envision no brighter future, set something in place. Not all that different from when Hitler and Stalin made an agreement to split up Poland. And the irony is, this did not help the Russian People because Hitler was a maniac and he invaded nonetheless and then Russia had to teach the German a hard lesson about cold winters and what it takes to survive.
      How about we recognize the 20th century as the turning point when humanity collectively decided. How about that idea instead of history repeating itself? How about that.
      If not, if you disagree, then fine, that is your choice – we all deserve liberty. I have contingencies in place and I plan on sticking around and talking face-to-face with others and they can decide if my ideas have merit or if they are the rambling of a fool. My dignity resides in my heart and I’m sorry to say there is no way you can take it away. I’m not alone and I know this and peace easy and some old ideas die hard, but they all die. We all will die in the end, but hopefully we can leave a bit of our spirit behind. That is my plan.
      Plus, I don’t think Putin is anything like Stalin and Kropotkin as well as Mendeleev as well as Prokofiev tell me all I need to know about the will of Russia. Really – don’t poke the bear anymore cause them days are over.
      ps – sorry for the typos

  10. Realist
    June 23, 2021 at 19:46

    Quite to the point. Thank you.

  11. Zhu
    June 23, 2021 at 19:38

    If military history has one lesson, it is DON’T INVADE RUSSIA.

  12. Stephen Kastl
    June 23, 2021 at 19:00

    Grateful Russia did not cause casualties when they were within their rights to do so. This incident shows once again who the worlds most aggressive war mongers and war criminals are: the USA and NATO.

  13. Eric
    June 23, 2021 at 18:55

    Libya, Serbia and Afghanistan apparently border the Atlantic Ocean, giving the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
    justification to bomb and invade them — all to protect the law-abiding citizens of Iowa, of course.

    So isn’t the Crimean Peninsula a natural extension of Land’s End?

  14. dave racine
    June 23, 2021 at 17:42

    Boris+Biden=2Bozos These guys are criminally insane.

  15. Jahaziel Bonilla
    June 23, 2021 at 17:27

    “The Western nations” are always claiming the Right to navigate in other countries territorial waters while constantly interfering in the internal affairs of weaker nations (economic and militarily speaking). They have not gotten the memo that they do not rule the oceans anymore since the rise of China and Russia and obviously are too dumb and believe their own propaganda. Maybe their own corporate mouthpieces (western media) should send their own governments the memo……

  16. rosemerry
    June 23, 2021 at 15:56

    As if the UK and the USA have not enough to do in their own pathetically mismanaged Homelands that they need to try this sort of stunt. “Ukraine territorial waters”!!!! Have they not noticed Ukraine recently, since Biden seemed to wake up? Have none of them read the work of Andrei Martyanov on Russian defences, or the fact that aircraft carriers are the most vulnerable of the marvellous naval powers US?UK are so proud of?? The youtube videos os Alexander Mercouris, as readers here will know, are a joy to behold and very informative on all these matters.

  17. June 23, 2021 at 14:28

    A large percentage of of rattlesnake bites are suffered by immature young men reaching to tease the snake.

    • June 23, 2021 at 16:32

      Yes, Jonathan Beale reporting from aboard the British ship truly sounds like a hooligan adolescent excitedly participating in the bear baiting. It really does give the sense of testosterone in the absence of a brain.

  18. June 23, 2021 at 14:15

    Now that I see other comments, may I also add:
    Both Russia and China have most certainly been carefully watching the developments in Western “Democracies” for at least two decades. They have sorted out their differences and clearly understand their common interests in relation to the slightly deranged US Empire, with it’s ambivalent and mostly reluctant vassals reacting to its clear failure to beat the Chinese at the game they’ve celebrated as their own (Capitalism). Predictably to me and most surely also to Putin and Xi Jinping their plan B is resorting to Military provocation. It’s the losing poker player drawing his pistol under the table and the expression of a phenotype that has been an evident expression of the DNA since the arrival of the Mayflower.
    I think neither the Russians nor the Chinese will be taken by surprise.

  19. Em
    June 23, 2021 at 14:15

    In realpolitik life or death survival, no low is too low for the sycophant to sink in order to remain consequential to the hegemon.
    Once the Great colonialist power, Britain, should know this better than most.

  20. June 23, 2021 at 14:01

    I’m delighted that Craig Murray has so quickly commented on this; apt title and apt comment. As always he has captured the absolute essence of the incident in every respect.
    UK Vessel in a place where it shouldn’t be and has absolutely no excuse to be there.
    Ludicrous, British nationalist, sabre-rattling at the root of it.
    The only thing missing is the even more pathetic, truly sad perspective being that British desperation to continue in the illusion of having an empire has settled for being a toadying hanger-on and all-round bully-boy and attack dog doing dirty work for the new empire.This “Britain” of course is the Britain of the deluded elites and the real tragedy is that it reflects a total ignorance and utter indifference to the true potential of this country that has only recently shed the EU support system to embark upon its own course.
    When are we going to see the true English Revolution?

  21. Helga I. Fellay
    June 23, 2021 at 13:59

    Crimea is part of Russia and as such, Russia has every right to fire warning shots at warships which invade its waters. It’s just another shameless war provocation by the UK, very much like US war provocations against China in the South China Sea. The (rapidly declining) Empire does everything it can to provoke Russia and China into war. Neither Russia and China want war.

  22. Martin - Swedish citizen
    June 23, 2021 at 12:58

    Thanks for bringing this up!
    I think you are perfectly right.
    I just read a report on the BBC, where a journalist reported from on board the British ship about the incidents. He wrote he had been invited to follow the mission on-board before the incidents occurred. One might wonder did the Navy and the BBC perhaps anticipate them?

  23. Vaughn Burckard
    June 23, 2021 at 12:46

    Exactly right! The Brits true enemy is in Brussels, not the Black Sea.

  24. Yuriy Sobeshchakov
    June 23, 2021 at 12:25

    The shorter distance between HMS Defender and Crimea was 11,13 nautical miles, which means that the British ship has crossed the Russian border by o,87 NM. Visit to check the proof.

  25. June 23, 2021 at 11:39

    I m with you Craig, but its worrying that Boris dares to force a stand off! He may get away with his bullying and attempts at joking. at PMQ s, but, has he considered the reaction, he could cause, inciting a tit for tat war game and how it might end, in a war, that only he and Biden want!

  26. Jeff Harrison
    June 23, 2021 at 10:54

    This goes right along with the US aircraft refusing to change course in the S. China sea until after the Chinese interceptors had locked onto the US aircraft and were ready to launch missiles. Somebody’s going to miscalculate (certainly the US) and something undesirable is going to happen.

    • Ian Perkins
      June 24, 2021 at 04:50

      Such a ‘miscalculation’ might be a part of their calculations.

      • Henry Smith
        June 25, 2021 at 04:38

        And the ones making the calculations will not be the ones making the sacrifices.
        Don’t step in a politician you’ll never get rid of the smell.

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