Russian Naval Base Sevastopol
Mention the (original) Crimean war and most people think of The Charge of the Light Brigade and the bloodbath that followed.
Russia invaded Moldavia and Wallachia, which were then parts of modern day Moldova, Romania and Ukraine in order to protect Christians from the persecution of the Muslim Ottoman Empire.
Alhough in the British, French and Austrians agreed in principle, they certainly didn’t agree in practice. Even so they tried to broker peace between Russia and the Ottoman Empire it was to no avail and war was declared on October 23 1853.
Britain and France in particular were worried about the geopolitical future of the area, the Ottoman Empire was crumbling and was ripe for the picking as a willing trade partner and possible overseas base for the French and British Navies. Russia already had it’s fleet in the Black Sea, and this was seen as a chance to oust the Russians once and for all.
This of course would give Britain and France control of a strategically valuable region. If Russia were to beat the Turks, British influence would be lost in the Mediterranean…something that Britain was not happy about.
Napoleon lll of France challenged Tsar Nicholas l claims to be a protector of Christians and the British and French allied themselves with the Ottoman Turks.
Even when the initial areas that were invaded had been cleared the allies pushed on into Crimea, determined not to miss the change to oust the Russians, and their navy, from the Black Sea.
Fierce battles raged around Balaklava and Sevastopol, and it was going badly for the Russians. The probably couldn’t believe their luck when the British made one of the biggest mistakes in military history.
A force of 700 men was ordered to sweep forward through a steep sided valley and take on the Russians entrenches at the far end. It was insane, and even the man in charge, Lord Lucan, questioned it…but it was confirmed, the men of the Light Brigade were to advance.
The 700 men were cut down, picked off like fish in a barrel. Feeling renewed from their victory the Russians attempted to take Sevastopol but failed and by September 1955 Sevastopol was in the hands of the British.
The allies and Russians had suffered heavy casualties and the public sentiment in Britain and Europe was waning.
The Treaty of Paris was signed in March 1856 effectively ending the war. Most of the land that had been fought over was returned to the original owners. Another condition of the treaty was that neither side would establish a naval base on or around the Black Sea. The Black Sea was to remain neutral in order to maintain the territorial integrity of Turkey.
Russia broke the terms of the Treaty in 1870 when it started to re-fortify a section of coast and established a naval base that it has maintained there ever since.
The location of the Crimean Penninsula is of prime importance to the Russians. It gives their forces access to the Middle East, The Balkans and the Mediterranean coastlines of Greece and Turkey. The can, if they chose block the Bosphorus Strait preventing other war ships from entering.
Although they have a large naval base on their own territory at Novorossiysk, Sevastopol is still their favored site…because a Russian presence prevents any other nation using it.
The Russian Naval Base at Sevastopol is only leased to Russia by the Ukraine, an agreement that was due to end in 2017. It was hastily updated just before the unrest to allow a Russian presence until 2042, something the anti-Russian interim government vowed to overturn.
Russia HAD to move into Crimea, they couldn’t risk the pro-European faction kicking them out of such a strategic location, and allowing European forces into an area just 200 miles from the Russian mainland as the crow flies.
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
We encourage you to share and republish our reports, analyses, breaking news and videos (Click for details).
Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!