The bombardment and capture of Ukrainian courts in the Kerch Strait is an obvious act of military aggression in Russia, said former Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine, chairman of the Expert Council of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (CIACR) Leonid Polyakov. In his view, the Kremlin may resort to new provocations to divert attention from the Kerch crisis.
"Of course, the Russian authorities are expected to begin accusing victims of their actions, that is, Ukraine. However, in this case Russia encountered an unusual situation. The fact is that outside the Russian information space, the Kremlin can not illuminate the Russian position in any positive light. No one in the international community has put forward any arguments in defense of Russia. Even the agents of Moscow's influence are mainly concerned with the actions of the Ukrainian side, but they do not defend Russia's position. The Kremlin commentators are trying to avoid discussing Russia's actions. And so I'm sure that Moscow will try to switch attention to something else as soon as possible, "- says Leonid Polyakov.
As possible scenarios of such distraction, the expert puts forward several hypotheses.
"November 27 in Istanbul began session of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, it is expected that major decisions concerning the process of granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be taken. Accordingly, the opposition from the pro-Moscow clerics and their associated FSB agents will intensify. It will be an exacerbation now or in the future - it is unknown, but sooner or later it will happen. In any case, such exacerbation will be only one of the elements of Russia's overall work on destabilizing the situation in Ukraine on the eve of the election. This work is already under way, and the question remains only in what accents the manipulators will distribute earlier, and which ones - later ", - the military analyst is sure.
In the opinion of Leonid Polyakov, the second direction of destabilization may be an aggravation of the situation on the Donbass.
"It can go in combination with other scenarios. The FSB in principle likes combinations, they inherited this feature from the KGB. By the way, it is not necessary that the main scenario of Putin will be connected with Ukraine. It can be linked to Syria, because there is a spin of money, with Africa (money and diamonds), with the Arctic, and so on. What fate in these scenarios is for Ukraine, remains to be guessed, but we must be ready for everything.
It is important not to forget about Transnistria. Also, practice has shown the presence of Moscow agents in the radical circles of Poland and Hungary, who have already tried to organize provocations in Ukraine. In short, there may be a lot of options for destabilization in order to divert attention, including Belarus, "says Polyakov.
As for the clash in the Kerch Strait, the former Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine does not rule out that this was also done to distract attention from some other Kremlin adventure.
"Of course, Russian border guards did not stop before the use of weapons until the 2014 year, and during the years of Ukraine's independence - before the war began - more than a dozen Ukrainian smugglers were shot dead at the border. They always acted much harder than the Ukrainian side, but in this case they surpassed themselves, and, judging by the intercepted radio exchange, commanders of Russian ships were very nervous. Adding to it the use of helicopters, it is obvious that they were led "from above". They were simply ordered to go for a clear violation. At the same time, they posted an online video of a collision with a Ukrainian boat, which fully proves that Russia deliberately went on a crime without any provocation from the Ukrainian side. These materials can be used for the Hague Tribunal. And I still do not see the explanation why they did it. There was obviously something else ... Perhaps, Russia wants to provoke a break from the 2003 agreement on the joint use of the Azov Sea, where the item on the unobstructed passage of Ukrainian ships is indicated. Perhaps Putin's goal was to aggravate the confrontation with the EU and NATO for "internal needs," the expert assumes.
The military analyst does not rule out the new provocations of Russia from the annexed Crimea in the Black Sea.
"The British have recently announced that they plan to increase their presence in Odessa. There are also plans to expand NATO's naval base in Romania. I do not rule out that the purpose of the Russian provocation was to intimidate NATO and the EU with possible conflicts in the Black Sea so that they would avoid entering its water area. Probably, thus, Moscow hopes to prevent the expansion of NATO presence in the Black Sea region ", - proposes a version of Polyakov.
At the same time, the military expert is convinced that the introduction of a military position in this situation was the right decision, and it will be primarily for the Ukrainian security forces, and for civilians.
"Ukraine has never introduced a military status regime, and its introduction will give us at least an opportunity to work out this mechanism. In 2014, he was not introduced because of the belief that the system was not ready for this, and this regime was not prescribed by law. Now the law exists, and it is important for the belligerent country to practice its implementation in practice, so that in the event of an increase in aggression we would be fully prepared. As for civil liberties, for example, in the occupied Russia, Crimea, the situation and without a formal martial law is much worse than in the military situation in Ukraine, "the expert concluded.