Kiev’s Illegal Use Of Naval Mines Endangers International Shipping

Cynics might suspect that the US actually hopes to see the same tragedy that so many are concerned about since it could claim that Russia caused the incident and thus put additional pressure upon it, not to mention further defame that country. Observers should therefore brace themselves for this scenario since it’s almost certain that the West will blame Russia if any tragedy soon transpires despite its proxies in Kiev being responsible.

Russia warned over the weekend that some of Kiev’s naval mines that were deployed outside the country’s primary ports have detached from their cables and are now freely floating throughout the Black Sea. The FSB sharply condemned this development, releasing a statement which said that “The Armed Forces of Ukraine have once again demonstrated a complete disregard for international law and for human lives, including those of citizens of the European Union.” It’s obvious how this endangers international shipping, especially since the FSB also warned that “It is not possible to rule out that the detached mines will drift into the Bosphorus and further into the Mediterranean Sea”, but some might question the credibility of Russia’s claims that Kiev’s naval mines violate international law.

Geneva Call, which describes itself as a neutral, impartial, and independent international humanitarian organization, provides some insight into this conclusion in their article about “Naval Mines and International Humanitarian Law”. They write that “Laying naval mines is not usually considered a violation of the IHL prohibition of indiscriminate attack. However, the law of naval mine warfare contains a specific rule on undiscerning attacks, which overtly prohibits the use of free-floating mines, unless they are directed against a military objective and they become harmless within an hour after loss of control over them. The laying of armed mines or the arming of pre-laid mines[xxii] must be notified unless they can solely detonate against vessels which are military objectives.”

From this expert assessment, Ukraine’s naval mines veritably violate international law because they’ve become “free-floating mines” after detaching from their cables. Moreover, to the best of the author’s knowledge, Kiev never publicly notified anyone about “the laying of armed mines or the arming of pre-laid mines” outside its primary ports. Those weapons quite clearly lack the ability to “solely detonate against vessels which are military objectives”, especially since they’ve just broken free and are floating through international shipping lanes. Observers are right to be very concerned about what seems to inevitably be a tragedy in the making, one which could have easily been avoided had Kiev behaved responsibly by complying with its international legal obligations.

Nevertheless, it’s extremely unlikely that anyone other than Russia will condemn Kiev for this or even simply draw attention to it. That’s because the US-led West has been blatantly employing double standards against that Eurasian Great Power for years already, especially since the commencement late last month of its ongoing special military operation in Ukraine. In fact, cynics might suspect that the US actually hopes to see the same tragedy that so many are concerned about since it could claim that Russia caused the incident and thus put additional pressure upon it, not to mention further defame that country. Observers should therefore brace themselves for this scenario since it’s almost certain that the West will blame Russia if any tragedy soon transpires despite its proxies in Kiev being responsible.

By Andrew Korybko Via https://oneworld.press/?module=articles&action=view&id=2620