Tanker War Expands To Black Sea, Ukrainian Navy Seizes Russian Tanker From Kerch Straits Incident

Moscow warns of ‘consequences’ after Ukraine seizes Russian tanker

A view shows the Russian tanker, now called Nika Spirit and formerly named Neyma, which was detained by the Ukrainian security services in the port of Izmail, Ukraine in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on July 25, 2019.

A view shows the Russian tanker, now called Nika Spirit and formerly named Neyma, which was detained by the Ukrainian security services in the port of Izmail, Ukraine in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on July 25, 2019.  State Border Guard Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

Ukraine said on Thursday it had detained a Russian tanker for its alleged involvement in the seizure of three Ukrainian vessels by Russia in November, and Moscow threatened consequences if Russian citizens were “taken hostage.”

Ukraine’s security service maintained that the tanker in the Ukrainian port of Izmail was involved in an incident in November in the Kerch Strait that led to Russia seizing three Ukrainian vessels.

“The Ukraine security service and military prosecutors’ office detained (a) Russian tanker, the Neyma, which had blocked Ukrainian warships in the Kerch Strait,” the security service said in a statement on Thursday.

Russia captured the vessels and their crews in waters that separate the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and Russia. Moscow-Kiev relations have been tense ever since.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned Ukraine on Thursday that “there will soon be consequences” if any Russian members of the crew of the tanker detained by Kiev were “taken hostage,” RIA news agency reported.

Ukraine’s security service was not available for comment.

It said earlier that the Russian vessel had entered Ukraine under its new name, the Nika Spirit, “to cover its involvement in illegal actions,” but that it had identified the ship by its unique International Maritime Organization number (IMO).

“The above named vessel is considered to be a piece of material evidence, (and) a petition to a court for its arrest is being prepared,” the security service said in its statement.

In Moscow, senior Russian lawmaker Vladimir Dzhabarov described Ukraine’s detention of the tanker as “absolutely illegal” and said it was detrimental to relations between the two countries, RIA news agency reported.

In Kiev, Ukraine’s ombudswoman said negotiations on the release of the Ukrainian sailors from the three vessels seized by the Russian navy off Crimea’s coast had intensified after Russian and Ukrainian leaders spoke by phone earlier this month.

China Defense Policy Foresees War w/US To End Interference In Taiwanese Reunification Effort

[“One China principle” “One-China policy” is a policy saying that there is only one sovereign state under the name China, despite the fact that there are two states, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC).–WIKI]

[China’s White Paper strategy is based on maintaining the “1992 Consensus“, agreement to disagree on Taiwan’s status, while the PRC and the ROC, both continue to hold to the view that their govt. is the legitimate Govt. of “ONE CHINA”.–ed.U]

“The fight against separatists is becoming more acute. The Taiwan authorities, led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), stubbornly stick to “Taiwan
independence” and refuse to recognize the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle.”–WHITE PAPER

“The “Taiwan independence” separatist forces and their actions remain the gravest immediate threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the biggest barrier hindering the peaceful reunification of the country.

China adheres to the principles of “peaceful reunification”, and “one country, two systems”, promotes peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, and
advances peaceful reunification of the country. Meanwhile, China resolutely opposes
any attempts or actions to split the country and any foreign interference to this end.

China must be and will be reunited. China has the firm resolve and the ability to
safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will never allow the
secession of any part of its territory by anyone, any organization or any political party by any means at any time. We make no promise to renounce the use of force, and reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is by no means targeted at our compatriots in Taiwan, but at the interference of external forces and the very small number of “Taiwan independence” separatists and their activities. The PLA will resolutely defeat anyone attempting to separate Taiwan from China and safeguard national unity at all costs.

China resolutely opposes the wrong practices and provocative activities of
the US side regarding arms sales to Taiwan, sanctions on the CMC Equipment
Development Department and its leadership, illegal entry into China’s territorial
waters and maritime and air spaces near relevant islands and reefs, and wide-range
and frequent close-in reconnaissance. However, in China-US relations, the
military-to-military relationship remains the generally stable one.”

US cruiser patrols Taiwan Strait in spite of ballyhooed China white paper

USS Antietam.

USS Antietam. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A large, heavily armed U.S. Navy warship sailed through the waters of the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday (July 24), the same day the Communist Chinese military released a white paper in which it threatened to use force against so-called pro-Taiwan independence “separatists.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. Navy announced that it had sent the USS Antietam (CG-54), a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, through the Taiwan Strait that day. Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet, told CNN the “USS Antietam conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit July 24-25 (local time) in accordance with international law.”

In China’s much-ballyhooed white paper [white paper on national defense in new era] released on Wednesday, it accused the U.S., which this month approved a sales package of tanks and Stinger missiles valued at approximately US$2.2 billion to Taiwan, of “undermining global strategic stability.” Doss countered China’s assertion by saying that “The (ship’s) transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” reported Reuters.

While the paper parroted China’s policy of “peaceful reunification” and “one country, two systems” toward Taiwan, it reiterated Beijing will not “renounce the use of force” against “separatists” and “foreign forces.” Meanwhile, Doss in his statement reiterated that “The US Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.”

The USS Antietam is a guided-missile cruiser, and it last sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Oct 22, 2018. Cruisers are the third-largest vessel in the US Navy’s fleet, after aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships.