US withdrawal and UK deployment of warships in the Black Sea is another maneuver | Eurasia Diary -

12 May, Wednesday

US withdrawal and UK deployment of warships in the Black Sea is another maneuver

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Rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia forced Britain to take up arms. According to an official statement issued yesterday, the UK already plans to launch its one Type 45 destroyer armed with anti-aircraft missiles and an anti-submarine Type 23 frigate to the Black Sea. It should be noted that this sudden decision came after the temporary withdrawal of the decision of US warships to cross the Black Sea.

Although historically there have been some conflicting issues, the United States and Britain share a common point of interest. This time, they are united by support for Ukraine and common interests against Russia. But how far can Britain go on this path? Is it going to expect to come face to face with Russia on this path?

Neil Watson, a British journalist and political expert, clarified these and other questions in an interview with Eurasia Diary.

The loss of the four young men is extremely sad and we share grief of their  families – British journalist | Eurasia Diary

- After the US temporarily cancelled deployment of naval warships in the Black Sea, UK decided to send its one Type 45 destroyer armed with anti-aircraft missiles and an anti-submarine Type 23 frigate as tensions rise between Ukraine and Russia. What is the interest of UK in getting involved in this conflict? 

- The active participation of the British in this conflict has a purely political basis. First of all, I would like to note that this is an attempt by Britain to show active solidarity with NATO, a US-led organisation. In addition, in the post-Brexit period, the United States is Britain's strongest current and future trading partner.

Another key issue is Russia's perception of the West as a major and historic enemy. Its position is widely seen as a threat to Western security. For example, Britain imposed sanctions on Russia after Sergei Skripal was poisoned with a "Novichok" by a Russian spy in Salisbury. It should be noted that Russian spies who poisoned Skripal last week allegedly blew up an ammunition factory in the Czech Republic in 2014. This resulted in the mutual expulsion of diplomats from both sides.

In general, the British press is now focused on such issues. I think that Britain's move on Ukraine is being watched with great interest, occupying the agenda everywhere.

- The United States has said it is temporarily withdrawing warships as it worries that the increase of the Russian troops may escalate the crisis in the region. Can we say that by temporarily suspending its warships, the US has handed over its vanguard role in the Black Sea to Britain?

- I think the United States has shown a very understanding attitude by not sending warships to the Black Sea. In general, the Biden administration is reluctant to escalate the potential situation in Ukraine. That is why the British navy is just an optional choice for the United States.

The United States is concerned that the situation could reach a peak by sending warships to the region, as well as a kind of sharp confrontation. That is why England is considered a less aggressive choice here.

- During the Karabakh conflict, the West constantly called on Azerbaijan for peace and said that it was unacceptable for the problem to be solved by armed forces. As for Ukraine, the West is not afraid to provide military assistance to Kiev. Do you think Britain will go any further in the face of the confrontation with Russia?

- Starting with the second part of the question, I see Britain's involvement in this conflict as a show of strength. If this tension turns into a bloody confrontation and the staff of the British Navy is killed or wounded, it will lead to the formation of negative public opinion about the current British government.

I think the British government is serving its own political interests, rather than taking a serious challenge to Russia by participating in this conflict.

If we look at the reaction of Britain, as well as the West to the Second Karabakh War, we can see that there are double standards. However, this is largely due to the history of the Karabakh conflict. At the same time, I must note that the forces of Armenia that Azerbaijan faced in the Karabakh conflict was not the enemy of the West, but more likely a friend. However in the conflict of Ukraine, Russia is the common enemy of the West that is facing now. This is one of the reasons why the approach is different.

Elnur Enveroglu

Eurasia Diary

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