Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
Tension is mounting around the Black Sea following Russia’s recognition of two Georgian regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as independent states.
Russia said its navy was monitoring ”the build-up of NATO forces in the Black Sea area” as the U.S. Navy shipped humanitarian supplies to Georgia on Wednesday.
In a move that could further aggravate Russia, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said he wanted to discuss charging Russia more for the lease of a naval base in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, which is part of Ukraine.
Ukrainian leaders say they fear they might be next on Russia’s hit list, a concern echoed by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. He told France’s Europe 1 radio: ”I repeat that it is very dangerous, and there are other objectives that one can suppose are objectives for Russia, in particular the Crimea, Ukraine and Moldova.”
At the time the faultlines between Russian and British imperial interests ran from the Balkans through the Crimea and the Caucasus to Central Asia and Afghanistan. That is remarkably similar to some of the faultlines creating upheavals today.
The Caucasus tinderbox is alight again. How far will the flames spread this time and what can the outside world – the United States, the European Union, NATO – do to extinguish them?
The strategic significance of this mountainous region stretches back through history.