US Navy carriers found a workaround to the shores of Crimea
A few days ago in the American analytical publication with a military-political theme — The National Interest (“National Interest”) magazine published a small columnist and at the same time United States Congressman Michael McColl. In it, the author argued that it would be time for the United States to ensure, on a regular basis, the unimpeded passage of US Navy ships into the Black Sea. In addition, the congressman is convinced of the need to supply the army of Ukraine with additional armament, so that the “Square” could restrain Russia’s influence in the region.
The column was immediately commented by the columnist Yuri Selivanov, who is sure that such statements are made for a reason: “They are going to do it in two ways: either to revise the Montreux Straits Convention, which I immediately stress is unlikely, or Turkey is building more now, what these straits are … They expect that the regime will be different there, and they can achieve completely different conditions for the passage of their warships to the Black Sea — even try to place their aircraft carriers in it, ”the observer said on the air of the channel «Star».
In this case, this is the so-called Istanbul shipping channel, the upcoming construction of which in 2011 was announced by Turkish President Recep Erdogan. It should be an alternative to the Bosphorus Strait, through which more than 50 thousand ships (and warships) pass annually. Its construction will tentatively be completed by the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Turkish Republic — in 2023. The Istanbul Channel itself is 25 meters deep, 150–400 meters wide and 43 km long and is planned to be built 50 km west of the Bosphorus and parallel to it, its throughput will be 85,000 ships a year. For comparison — the length of the Bosphorus Strait is about 30 km, the width is from 3700 to 700 m and the depth is 33–80 m (maximum — 120 m). Just like the Bosphorus, “Istanbul” will connect the Marmara and the Black Sea.
By the way, in his speeches, Erdogan repeatedly stressed that the 1936 Montreux Convention would not apply to this channel. The fact is that at the Conference on the Regime of the Black Sea Straits, which was held in the Swiss city of Montreux from June 22 to July 21, 1936, the basic rules for the passage of military and civilian ships through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits that belong to Turkey were defined.
Representatives of Australia, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Greece, Romania, the USSR, Turkey, France, Yugoslavia, and Japan took part in the Conference. As a result of the agreement, Turkey, subject to the principles of international maritime law, was given the opportunity to remilitarize the straits zone. What does it mean? According to the convention, both in wartime and in peace, all civilian vessels have the right to pass through the Dardanelles straits (from the Mediterranean Sea through the Aegean — to the Marmara) and the Bosphorus (from the Marmara — to the Black).
But there are some differences for warships in accordance with the class and time spent in the Black Sea. Ships of non-Black Sea countries can stay there for no more than 21 days. By the way, at the time, the Black Sea countries included Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, and the USSR, and after the collapse of the latter, Georgia and Ukraine were added to them (Russia, as the successor of the Soviet Union, retained this status).
Having omitted a lot of details, it suffices to mention Annex II of paragraph B of the convention, which states, among other things, that aircraft carriers do not have the right to pass through the straits either in peacetime or in wartime because of the large tonnage and their purpose. And this paragraph of the agreement is still in effect.
This is where the question arises: what will happen if Turkey finally puts the Istanbul channel into operation by 2023? After all, he formally really does not fall under the articles of the convention. And do not forget that Turkey is a member of NATO. Another thing is that the question of revising the Montreux Convention may arise, which is not very profitable for Russia — this allows for a change in the key 18th article, which deals with the tonnage of warships of non-Black Sea powers and the duration of their stay in the Black Sea.
“If we start the process of revising this article, and it requires the consent of three-quarters of the participants, the US will easily impose its own conditions, since almost all the Black Sea countries are vassals or allies. And we will get full access to the US Navy in this region. And it will hit the security of the Russian Federation, ”said the captain of the first rank, Doctor of Military Sciences Konstantin Sivkov. — In general, raising the issue itself can lead to the fact that the convention is either canceled altogether or changes in a direction unfavorable for us. It’s not a political situation to do such things. ”Recall, Konstantin Vasilyevich was referring to the initiative of Yury Hempel, chair of the Crimean parliament on interethnic relations, who called for a revision of the Montreux convention — of course, in the direction favorable to Russia. But the situation today Indeed, such that such an initiative can indeed open Pandora’s box, putting an end to the unsteady, thin world that is better known than the “good war”