Portal 19fortyfive, close to the Pentagon, published an interesting article Stavros Atlamazoglu, the military expert of the publication. The article titled “Russia won’t like it: The US Navy has an aircraft carrier near Ukraine.” He writes: “The aircraft carrier strike group Harry S. Truman is currently in the Mediterranean and may be within reach of Ukraine within a short period of time.” In addition to the lead ship, the AUG includes the missile cruiser San Jacinto, the destroyers USS Bainbridge, USS Cole, USS Gravely, USS Jason Dunham, and the Norwegian frigate Fridtjof.
Though Biden said that Washington would not provide direct military support to Kiev, in full combat readiness, nevertheless, the Essex landing group was also brought, which is now located in the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. It is based on the Wasp-class helicopter carrier of the same name, as well as the landing dock ships Portland and Pearl Harbor. They house approximately three thousand elite Stars and Stripes Marines.
With regard to aviation, a total of nine squadrons and air squadrons of the US Air Force and the US Navy are ready to rush to “defend Ukraine” right now, which supposedly will negate the advantages of the coastal aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces. In short, everything is grown-up.
“Our seafarers are always ready to provide flexible capabilities to complete missions ranging from supporting maritime security operations and providing crisis response capabilities, to enhancing theater security cooperation and providing an advanced naval presence in naval areas of operations. “- said Captain Gavin Duff, commander of the aircraft carrier” Harry Truman “.
Yes, according to the author of 19fortyfive, the continued presence of the Harry Truman aircraft carrier strike group in the region (close to Ukraine) is more a demonstration of support for NATO allies and Ukraine than a threat to use force against Russia. But everything is not as simple as it seems.
At first glance, the meaning of Atlamazoglu’s publication seems to be a no-brainer, especially since the expert actually admits that the Russians will not be frightened by the AUG, which anchored in the Ionian Sea between Greece and Italy. It’s like the devil is on the streets.
Another thing is to send a United States aircraft carrier directly to the Black Sea. If only then Moscow would be worried. Of course, someone will say, why would Russia strain if there is the Montreux Convention (hereinafter simply “Montreux”), signed in July 1936? This treaty, as you know, limits the passage through the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus of warships of non-Black Sea countries with a displacement of 15 thousand tons, while “Harry Truman” displaces 100 thousand tons.
By the way, Ankara has repeatedly stated that it will adhere to the letter “Montreux”, even if it is a NATO member. So the topic is closed? It turns out – no. The Yankees put pressure on the Turks, demanding to rewrite this treaty, which regulates the regime of passage through the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus.
Analyst Aaron Lund from the Swedish Defense Research Agency (FOI) recalls that on April 5, 2021, the Turkish authorities detained ten of their retired admirals, who warned against withdrawing from Montreux. Behind closed doors something was explained to them in a popular way, after which none of the truth-tellers spoke on this matter anymore.
For Ankara, “Montreux” means more than for other signatories. In 2014-2019, an average of 42,258 sea transits were made annually through the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, the vast majority of which were merchant ships. If all of them paid as for the passage through the Suez Canal, then now there would be no economic crisis in Turkey.
In particular, as noted in a 2017 Chatham House report, the Straits are one of the most important global corridors for food exports. As many as 12% of the world grain trade is carried out through them, including a fifth of the world’s wheat.
Now about the most unpleasant thing. The Yankees have repeatedly stressed that the United States is not a signatory to Montreux and is respecting the treaty of inertia – largely due to respect for the former might of the USSR, which, however, collapsed 30 years ago.
“Washington and its NATO allies were supportive of the Montreux framework agreement during the Cold War, as it did not allow Moscow to quickly move the ships of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet in the Mediterranean,” says Aron Lund. “But after the end of the Cold War, Romania and Bulgaria apparently, not without the help of the United States, advocated a revision of the treaty in the interests of ensuring a more flexible NATO entry into the Black Sea. “
The FOI expert recalls that there were times when Ankara was ready to abandon Montreux, but Stalin threatened with war, which brought the Turks to their senses for many decades to come. By and large, because of the fear of a new conflict with Russia (then the USSR), Turkey joined NATO.
Today, the balance of power in the Black Sea is on the side of the Russian Federation, but everything would change if the United States could send aircraft carriers and strategic submarines here. Whether this is so is another question! In any case, the Yankees adhere to this point of view, despite our coastal anti-ship complexes.
Russia and Turkey exchanged barbs over the straits in 2015 and early 2016, at a time when tensions escalated following Russia’s intervention in Syria, Aron Lund notes. Even then, the Turks recalled on their channels about the nuances of “Montreux”, about which the Russians must be sure to remember.
It turns out that Article 28 allows any of the contracting parties to the Convention to put forward a demand for its repeal. If this happens, the parties will convene to negotiate a new agreement, but in any case, two years after the initial declaration, the treaty will expire, although the “principle of freedom of transit and navigation” provided for in Article 1 will remain in effect “indefinitely”.
In addition, Article 29 establishes a mechanism for periodic amendments in accordance with a rolling five-year schedule, starting with the entry into force of the Convention in 1936. The current five-year period will expire on November 9, 2026, and the amendment proposal is due in August 2026 at the latest. By this time, Erdogan promises to complete the construction of the Bosphorus’s backup – the Istanbul Canal.
Now about whether an American aircraft carrier can approach the shores of the Crimea? It turns out – yes, if amendments are made to Articles 14 and 18, which concern the displacement of warships going through the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus. For the revision, the FOI reminds, the consent of three quarters of the signatories to “Montreux”, including three quarters of the coastal states of the Black Sea, one of which should be Turkey, will be required.
Moscow will definitely find itself in splendid isolation, while Ankara, which has the right to veto, can impose indirect high and even prohibitive transit tariffs and easily circumvent the ban on charging for passage through the straits. For example, environmental tax, accident insurance or compulsory escort of the Turkish Security Forces. All this is still there, but it is still very inexpensive.
In general, Turkey cannot single-handedly amend the Convention, but has the right to block any proposal put forward by other Montreux members. However, right now, the re-signing of the Convention carries more risks for Ankara than preferences. But Erdogan, taking into account the economy flying into the abyss, can easily agree to the revision of Articles 14 and 18 in exchange for emergency economic assistance.
As an excuse, he will say, “Sorry, Putin! We need a lot of money! “
And one more thing: in December 2019, Erdogan, recalls the FOI, made a statement, dangerous for Russia, about the political aspect of the Istanbul channel under construction. He said, “I don’t use [политический аспект «Монтре”] now, but when the time comes, we will use that too. “
Therefore, it is possible that in a few years we will indeed read in Inosmi that “The US aircraft carrier will go to the shores of the Crimea, Turkey has given the go-ahead for transit through the Bosphorus or the Istanbul canal.”