Editor’s Note :

Monday, August 2, 2021

Would NATO go to war over Snake Island? Russia may gamble no. That is one subtext in an essay for The Hill by Harlan Ullman: “Is Ukraine Putin’s Taiwan?” In 2009, the International Court of Justice adjudicated this Danube delta island as Ukrainian, with most of nearby waters as Romanian. Occupied by Romania from 1941-1944, Snake Island was the scene of several Soviet Navy probes and clashes during World War II. Today, by seizing Snake Island, Russia could create a 200 km east-west line, controlling shipping in and out of all of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. This line would connect Snake Island, the offshore platforms seized in 2014 from Chornomornaftogaz, and Sevastopol, the Crimea headquarters for the Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Under a 1997 treaty with Romania, Ukraine demilitarized Snake Island, dismantled a military radar, and established a small border guard unit. Starting Sept. 10, Russia’s Zapad military exercises are expected to have a naval component. With Best Regards Jim Brooke

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