Based on past treaties and agreements Russia is poised to take US holding, will they build strategic military installations?
(fairplanet)Russia questioned territorial belonging of a 1,500-mile-long strip on its sea border with the United States, the country’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday (28/1).
This is the first case ever when a foreign power lays formal claims on the US territory. Another country is Mexico. Still, it has never formally demanded to return territories lost to the United States in the 19th century.
Moscow has been eyeing an option to withdraw unilaterally from the so-called “Shevardnadze-Baker deal” signed in June 1990. The agreement was inked just 17 months before the Soviet Union’s disintegration, and the Soviet parliament had never had time to ratify the document. The US Congress ratified it shortly after the deal was struck.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday that Moscow saw no point in ratifying the “hastily signed” deal.
He said that Moscow might claim 78,000 sq miles of the Bering Sea and continental shelf as Russia’s economic zone with the exclusive right for fishing and development of oil and gas deposits.
Chairperson of the Federation Council, Russia’s upper chamber of Parliament, Valentina Matviyenko, supported the claim. “Russia needs to stop dealing with the United States meekly”, she said.
Reached by phone, head of the State Duma’s International committee Konstantin Kosachev, who chaired the closed doors meeting over the issue, declined to comment on the ground that the information has been classified. He only said that the meeting was attended by the representatives of the Foreign Ministry, Federal Security Service and Russian fishery agency.
“We all have unanimously supported the idea [to withdraw from the 1990’s agreement]”, he said.
Professor Kamil Bekyashev, who participated in drafting the Shevarnadze-Baker deal 28 years ago, also refused to comment, citing the same reason.
There is an obvious legal collision over the Bering Sea, says editor-in-chief of the “Russia’s Sea News” Anatoly Kuznetsov.
“Washington ratified the agreement while Moscow did not. Since then, Russia has been obeying the agreement de-facto. Still, Moscow has been doing so on a voluntary basis, not because it is legally binding for Russia. Thus, formally, Moscow would not violate any agreement if it opts to start fishing in the disputed areas”, he says.
To get rid of that controversy, the Russian parliament might pass the law about a refusal to recognize the 28-year-old Soviet legal act. According to the law “About Russia’s international agreements”, any deal regarding borders, be it land or maritime, is considered legally nill unless ratified, the expert notes.
“Russian lawmakers have to understand that the United States won’t put a blind eye on such acts. Any attempts to reconsider an agreement ratified by the U.S. should be backed up with certain military power. Well, if the Russian authorities believe that the Russian Navy is capable to counter the U.S. Navy, go ahead”, Kuznetsov notes.
He points at the South China Sea where Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese fishing vessels regularly jostle one another in the disputed waters for decades.
“If Russia decides to ignore the American interests in the Bering Sea, it risks engaging with the similar ‘war of nerves’. Russian fishermen will have to rely on the Navy protection in a hope that the U.S. warships are reluctant to start sea battles over such minor incidents”, Kuznetsov says.
In 2010, Russian then-President Dmitry Medvedev, signed a decree dropping Russia’s sovereignty over a part of the Barents Sea to Norway. The deal, widely criticized in Russia, has ended a 90-year-long dispute between the two countries.
Image: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration