2006 anti-NATO protests in Feodosia

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Anti-NATO motivated protests (including 1 riot) took place in the Ukrainian port city of Feodosiya late May/early June 2006, partially disrupting a joint Ukrainian-U.S. military exercise; which was canceled 20 July 2006.[1]

Background[edit]

The military Ukraine-NATO Partnership for Peace military exercise Sea Breeze 2006 exercise (in Crimea) was scheduled to take place in Ukraine starting 17 July 2006.[2][3] Its aim was to "simulate the defence of a peninsula caught between a totalitarian state and a democratic one."[3] "Sea Breeze" manoeuvres had been held annually since 1997.[3] Another British-Ukrainian war-game called "Tight Knot" was scheduled to start on 14 June 2006 (near Mykolaiv).[3]

Legal concerns[edit]

On 4 June Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko signed a decree on preparations of the two war-games.[4] The approval for the exercises by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) was still pending early June 2006 because after the parliamentary election of March 2006 it resumed its work on 7 June 2006.[5] In February 2006 the Verkhovna Rada elected before the 2006 election rejected a presidential bill on allowing foreign troops to take part in the maneuvers planned for 2006.[5] The Verkhovna Rada was due to vote on the same bill on 7 June 2006, but decided to adjourn until 14 June.[2][6]

On 6 June 2006 the Crimean legislature declared Crimea a "NATO-free territory"[3][6] despite lacking any legal jurisdiction over such issues. The parliament actually has no right of legislative initiative.[7]

Events[edit]

on 27 May 2006 the United States (U.S.) cargo ship "Advantage" anchored in Feodosiya, bringing what Ukrainian Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko described as U.S. "technical aid."[5] (Unarmed[3]) seamen offloaded construction materials to build barracks for Ukrainian sailors at a training range near the town of Stary Krym, not far from Feodosiya.[5] Two days later, Feodosiya residents, mobilized by local chapters of the Party of Regions, the Nataliya Vitrenko Bloc, and the Russian Community of Crimea, began to picket the port,[5] displaying anti-NATO slogans written in Russian and blocking U.S. cargo from getting to its destination.[5]

Together with "Advantage" 200 U.S. Marine Corps reservists arrived to Feodosiya.[2][8] Their mission was to take part in the Sea Breeze 2006 military exercise from 17 July.[2][3] When the Marine reservists tried to reach the training facility that they were assigned to renovate[8] protesters surrounded their bus, rocking it and trying to smash the windows, eventually forcing the vehicle to head to a military sanatorium, where the reservists remain.[3] Protesters reportedly harassed Marine reservists if they stepped outside their military base.[6] The marines were advised against going into nearby towns for fear of provoking noisy confrontations.[9] On 4 June 2006 U.S. marines began leaving Crimea.[9] American and Ukrainian officials stated because their contract was ending.[9] Associated Press reported that no repair work was done at the base they were assigned to renovate.[8] On June 8 Ukraine and United Kingdom postponed "Tight Knot".[8] On 20 July 2006 the United States cancelled "Sea Breeze", "due to the situation in the Middle East".[1]

Reportedly the group of protesters rarely consisted of more than a few hundred demonstrators.[5][9] They accused NATO and the United States of seeking a foothold in Ukraine.[9] The Ukrainian defense ministry stated 2 June 2006 that the planned exercises were not connected with NATO.[4]

Diplomatic reaction[edit]

On June 5, 2006, Serhiy Yevtushenko, an advisor to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, was stopped at the Moscow airport and sent back to Ukraine.[10] The following day, Russian Duma vice-speaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky and member Konstantin Zatulin were banned from entering Ukraine (were declared persona non grata) based on the Ukrainian law concerning foreigners’ status, "foreigners are prohibited to enter the country if they violated Ukrainian legislation during their previous stay."[10][11] In the case of Zatulin, Ukrainian government accused him of trying to invoke ethnic violence and work against territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state.[10] For example, Zhirinovskiy stated: “Ukraine does not exist. Russian governors must sit in Kiev and Minsk. True Russian borders are the borders of September 1917.”[11] The Russian Foreign Ministry denounced the ban as unfriendly.[12]

NATO-involved military events in Ukraine since 2006[edit]

The 2006 Crimean anti-NATO protests did not impact foreign military units to participate in multinational military exercises in Ukraine.[13] Various military exercises (including ones with NATO troops) where held in Crimea since 2006.[13][14]

According to a poll by Razumkov Center in March 2011 some 51% of the Crimean residents considered NATO a threat, while across Ukraine this rate was 20.6% on average.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b U.S.-Led Naval Exercise In Black Sea Cancelled, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (20 July 2006)
  2. ^ a b c d Jeremy, Page (June 8, 2006). "Anti-Nato protests threaten eastward expansion". Irish Independent. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Page, Jeremy (June 2006). "US troops trapped in barracks as protesters reheat Cold War 07". The Times Online (London). Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Crimean parliament protests foreign military exercise with U.S., RIA Novosti (5 June 2006)
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Ukraine: U.S. Navy Stopover Sparks Anti-NATO Protests, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (1 June 2006)
  6. ^ a b c Russia tells Ukraine to stay out of Nato, The Guardian (8 June 2006)
  7. ^ The Crimea wants to protect majority principle, Den (7 October 2003)
    Crimea prepares amendments to Constitution, ForUm (21 January 2013)
  8. ^ a b c d U.S. Marines Leave Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (11 June 2006)
  9. ^ a b c d e U.S. reservists pull out of Ukraine, The New York Times (11 June 2006)
  10. ^ a b c "N/A". Gazeta.pl. 
  11. ^ a b Kovalenko, Oksana (June 8, 2006). "Zhirinovsky and Zatulin Will Not Be Able to "Wash Their Boots" in the Black Sea". Ukrayinska Pravda. 
  12. ^ "Russia regards ban on Zhirinovsky's entry to Ukraine as unfriendly act 7". Interfax. June 2006. 
  13. ^ a b Crimean communists to protest against NATO's Sea Breeze exercises, Kyiv Post (May 27, 2010)
  14. ^ Foreign Ministry: Sea Breeze 2011 drills no danger to Ukraine's neighbors (updated), Kyiv Post (Jun 14, 2011)
    Ukraine parliament allows NATO participation in drills, RIA Novosti (May 18, 2010)
    Ukraine: Clear Sailing Expected For Sea Breeze Naval Exercises, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (9 July 2007)
    UK-Ukraine leadership training in Crimea, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (4 April 2012)
  15. ^ Poll: Most Crimean residents consider Ukraine their motherland, Kyiv Post (11 April 2011)

External links[edit]