Northern Eurasia 2019: Northern Eurasia Today
The Russian foreign electoral interventions of 2015 and after have so far done little to end tensions between Russia and the West. Despite Donald Trump’s pro-Russian words, the US sanctions on Russia—which followed the Crimean Crisis and the first allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections—have not been eased and US-Russian rivalry in Syria and Ukraine continues to this day.
25 Nov 2018 Kerch Strait incident▲
In November 2018 the Russian Coast Guard fired upon and captured three Ukrainian Navy vessels in the Kerch Strait—lying between Russia and the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula—as they attempted to pass from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov en route to the Ukrainian port of Mariupol. Russia claimed that the ships had entered Russian territorial waters; Ukraine responded by declaring one month of regional martial law under the stated concern of a Russian invasion. Russian actions were criticized by Europe and the United States.
19 Dec 2018 Trump’s withdrawal from Syria▲
In December 2018, without any apparent consultation with Congress and against the recommendations of his advisors, United States President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that the war with ISIS (Daesh) had been won and the remaining 2,000 US troops in Syria would be withdrawn. The following day US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis tendered his resignation, expressing concern that the fight with ISIS was not yet complete and that the move handed control of the region to Russia and Iran and was an abandonment of the US’s Kurdish allies. Trump’s words were also met with concern by US allies, although they were greeted as a positive move by Russian President Vladimir Putin.