back to article Russia spoofed AIS data to fake British warship's course days before Crimea guns showdown

Russia was back up to its age-old spoofing of GPS tracks earlier this week before a showdown between British destroyer HMS Defender and coastguard ships near occupied Crimea in the Black Sea. Yesterday Defender briefly sailed through Ukrainian waters, triggering the Russian Navy and coastguard into sending patrol boats and …

  1. Snake Silver badge
    Coat

    To sadly turn this political

    And yet Das Cheetos and his gooze-stepping minions played off Russia as not a threat.

    Any government that plays around with military hardware in order to try to gain a political advantage? That's a threat.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: To sadly turn this political

      As any player of the board game will tell you, it isn't a threat, it's Diplomacy.

      China - invading the South "China" Sea

      North Korea - invading Japanese fishing grounds

      India - Bottling up the Pakistani navy

      USA - Intimidating everyone... etc. etc. etc.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Diplomacy

        Too late for that, Russia has just announced that they will BOMB any ship that passes 'unauthorized' (by them) within the waters

        https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/britain-says-dont-get-carried-away-by-warship-spat-with-russia-2021-06-24/

        1. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: Diplomacy

          From the link:

          "We can appeal to common sense, demand respect for international law, and if that doesn't work, we can bomb

          Yeah, because invading a neighbouring country and annexing a part of its territory is respecting international law.... Russia's position is farcical.

          The West should official consider Russia as a hostile Nation, even if it helps the Russian nationalist playbook, "the nice us vs the evil others".

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            Re: Diplomacy

            Russia should be thanking the UK for being sensible and respecting international law by staying within agreed transit routes through Ukrainian waters.

            1. Persona Silver badge

              Re: Diplomacy

              The Russian Empire took Crimea from the Ottoman empire in 1783. It then became part of the USSR in 1921. When the USSR fell apart in 1991 it became an autonomous region of the Ukraine. The people there mostly speak Russian not Ukrainian. Had Ukraine permitted a referendum the vast majority would have voted to be part of Russia. As it was not sanctioned by Ukraine that result was considered controversial. Crimea was re-annexed by Russia in 2014.

              For the last 240 years Crimea has been part of Russia for all but the 23 where it accidentally became an autonomous region of Ukraine. It's Russian.

              The British warship sailed through Russian territorial waters as a deliberate confrontational act.

              1. Jan 0 Silver badge

                Re: Diplomacy

                > The Russian Empire took Crimea from the Ottoman empire in 1783. It then became part of the USSR in 1921

                USSR ≠ Russia. Being in a Russian empire, or in an alliance with Russia, or being a client state of Russia, does not make a country part of Russia.

                1. Persona Silver badge

                  Re: Diplomacy

                  The people there choose to speak Russian instead of Ukrainian. They certainly don't think of themselves as Ukrainian.

                  It's analogous to Gibraltar being part of the UK and not part of Spain and its sea UK waters. Imagine if we hadn't left the EU and some time in the future all the countries were assimilated into a single federated state. 90 years later this state falls apart and individual countries regain their independence. Gibraltar still full of UK identifying English speakers ends up as part of Spain. A referendum to leave Spain and rejoin the UK is not permitted by Spain (pretty likely given their track record), but controversially happens anyway. It rejoins, supported by the UK military but condemned by the UN. The sea of the coast of Gibraltar would then be UK waters?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The West should official consider Russia as a hostile Nation

            ah, but that would make it (slightly) more difficult to make business, you know. Awkward questions from those pesky journos, all the historical references to certain nations in pre-WW2 world (well, ALL nations, actually!) doing business with Herr Hitler, etc. And currently business "climate' around Russia is... difficult. Business is doable, of course, there's a will, there's ALWAYS a way, but it requires, shall we say, a new, innovative approach, no. Calling your business partners 'hostile' does not help, nosir. Let's be pragmatic and rational, Chamberlain is a great, great example historical example of pragmatism and rationality in action, no?

          3. JWLong Bronze badge

            Re: Diplomacy

            I love the smell of napalm any time during the day.

            There, that was nice enough

            /s

        2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

          Re: Diplomacy

          Russia lied about firing shells at the ship in the first place.

          There is no way in hell that Russia will blow up a ship of a core NATO member without it being part of a full scale attack.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Diplomacy

            A ridiculous farce on both sides. RN knew it was going to happen which is why there were press reporters including from BBC onboard.

            1. ElectricPics

              Re: Diplomacy

              Of course they knew. This has been planned for months as part of the Carrier Strike Group operation from which Defender was detached with the Dutch frigate to visit Istanbul, and carry out this freedom of navigation operation on the way. There are several media teams on board most of the warships in the group, with the possible exception of the submarine.

          2. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Diplomacy

            Especially a ship which could take out 40 odd aircraft in one go.

            1. Korev Silver badge
              Pirate

              Re: Diplomacy

              > Especially a ship which could take out 40 odd aircraft in one go.

              The RN has so few destroyers that the losing one[0] would be a massive blow to the Navy and would have all sorts of bad impacts on operations. I don't think they'd seriously want to put one in harm's way.

              [0] by which I mean being blow up, not breaking down again...

              1. MJI Silver badge

                Re: Diplomacy

                I do think this is Putin trying to appeal to his fanbase.

                He simply does not realise that being on good terms with the west would do his country a LOT of good.

                The Russians do realise that they have to be careful as if they tease too hard they may get bitten back.

                Type 45 may be a bit unreliable propulsion wise but at least it does not require a dedicated tug.

                1. bombastic bob Silver badge
                  Devil

                  Re: Diplomacy

                  He simply does not realise care that being on good terms with the west would do his country a LOT of good.

                  fixed it for ya. He's dictator for life (like Xi) after all.

                  Good job for the RN at dealing with this in the smartest way possible.

                  /me imagines Putie doing a "Line of Death" like Gaddafi. That would be both sad AND laughable at the same time.

                2. Shalghar

                  Re: Diplomacy

                  "He simply does not realise that being on good terms with the west would do his country a LOT of good."

                  Like the forgotten, then devalued 1995ish NATO promise not to step directly on the front lawn ?

                  Not the only promise broken, mind you.

                  Major issue is that "being on good terms" and "succumb to every whim and demand" are one and the same. Funny how large scale wargames near the russian border as well as the so called "defensive" missiles (anyone remember the "non atomic" ballistic rockets, comically named "honest john" in the 1960ies ?) are never considered a provocation.

                  Germany actually has several direct experiences with "being on good terms" with certain "friends".

                  Just look at the nordstream 2 pipeline. Blatant idiocy to stop that thing just to succumb under US demands to import "freeedom" fracking gas. As if an existing pipeline that can be opened and shut on both ends would not be a bigger leverage than a rusting heap of scrap dead in the coastal waters.

                  "Putin" surely is not "the good guy" but unless "we" do better in each and every aspect, "we" are in no position to complain. And if "being on good terms" with "us" actually is beneficial at all is mostly dependant on how "we" behave. Hows the "greatest trade agreement ever" going, by the way ?

              2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

                Re: Diplomacy

                Which is why we know that Russia is all huff & puff about it. The RN cannot risk a destroyer. Therefore, they did NOT risk a destroyer. Therefore, the RN was confident that PN (Putin's Navy) was not actually going to do anything.

                This is 99% theater.

          3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

            Re: Diplomacy

            Russia has never claimed that it fired shells *at* the warship. Russia claimed it fired *warning shots*.

          4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            Re: Diplomacy

            > There is no way in hell that Russia will blow up a ship of a core NATO member without it being part of a full scale ~~attack~~ flood angry tweets.

            FTFY

          5. ElectricPics

            Re: Diplomacy

            They fired several times but the pattern of the muzzle flashes on the video from the Bridge of the Russian warship clearly show they were blanks.

          6. Persona Silver badge

            Re: Diplomacy

            Russia lied about firing shells at the ship in the first place.

            No. It said it fired warning shots. It did not say they were fired at the ship. Had it fired shells at the ship they might well have hit it. Watching the news report the warning shells it fired can be seen landing a safe distance away as is customary with warning shots.

        3. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Diplomacy

          How would they bomb it if all their bombers got shot down?

          I expect the Type 45 is fully armed and I also expect an Astute is nearby.

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: Diplomacy

            The problem with that is you really need to be able to shoot down the missile* otherwise you're the first one to open fire and ergo the aggressor.

            A T45 can shoot down 40+ aircraft yes, but NOT 40+ plane loads of incoming guided weapons popping up over the horizon.

            * because anyone dropping bombs with intent inside anti-air missile range will become confetti very soon afterwards.

            1. ElectricPics

              Re: Diplomacy

              A Type 45 is probably capable of shooting down 40 plane loads of incoming air launched missiles, but the point is that they’d have shot the aircraft down long before they came over the horizon in an attack posture. Aster missiles have an 80km range. I’d also be very surprised if the Russians could manage to get 40 serviceable aircraft in the air at once anyway, given the terrible state of their armed forces.

          2. ElectricPics

            Re: Diplomacy

            The Astute would remain with the carrier group, especially as Defender and the Dutch frigate were away on their trip to Istanbul and pinching Putins butt before rejoining to enter Suez. Plus it would be far too easy for the Russians to detect and possibly trap her in those waters.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To blatantly unnecessarily turn this political

      FTFY. Mr Trump hasn't been in office for almost 6 months now, and this incident didn't involve the USA. If it had, the threat assessment would be conducted by people who are not Mr Trump and have instead been appointed or left in their positions at Mr Biden's discretion. Let it go already.

      What's the real threat exactly? The Royal Navy's job is to sail into potentially dangerous situations and keep the peace for the UK merchant marine. That's what they were doing. These kinds of "exercises" and bullying are common on the high seas among maritime nations and have been for longer than there's been a Royal Navy. How much of a threat it really represents to anyone in the UK is an open question; it depends on how you think about diplomacy and international trade. Immiment threat to the physical safety of anyone in the UK? Nonexistent. Hazards to trade and sovereignty in and around continental Europe, especially for former USSR puppet states? Considerable.

      Try to keep things in perspective, and avoid spurious injection of irrelevant domestic politics. We get it, you don't like Mr Trump. Almost no one does, but he's long gone and had little or nothing to do with this. That is, unless you want to make the case that to defend the UK (somehow?), he should have sent US troops and ships to Crimea to recapture it for Ukraine. No doubt had he done so, you would have complained about that too -- "imperialist aggression!!!" and such. And while we're at it, Russia's illegal annexation happened more than 2 years before Mr Trump took office, so if you want to blame a US President for the current mess in Ukraine or letting Mr Putin get away with the theft of Crimea, that'd be Mr Obama.

      Since you want to play at geopolitics, how about suggesting what you would do here as the UK's defence secretary or the President of the USA? You know, to deal with the threat. Mr Trump's a fool; all right. What's your play then?

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: To blatantly unnecessarily turn this political

        Bless!. The point was that Trump emboldened Putin, or did you miss that? Being an apologist for the Moron in Chief may be OK in Georgia but not in the real world. He created a situation which we are now having to live with.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bless!

          My goodness, it's the Pope! Say hello to the Pope, everyone! :-)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bless!

            Hah! You fool! Any idiot could see that it was actually the Archbishop of Canterbury!

        2. SundogUK Silver badge

          Re: To blatantly unnecessarily turn this political

          "The point was that Trump stood up to Putin..." FIFY.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: Standing, so as to shoot yourself in the foot

            "The point was that Trump stood up FOR Putin..."

            FTFIFY.

        3. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: To blatantly unnecessarily turn this political

          I did miss that.

          Maybe you missed the multiple peace treaties, and the massive increase in world tensions this year now that America has a leadership vacuum.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: To blatantly unnecessarily turn this political

            America now has a president rather than a golf playing twitterer who did shows because he enjoyed his fans hero worshipping him.

            Maybe you should look up the world "vacuum"?

            1. Cederic Silver badge

              Re: To blatantly unnecessarily turn this political

              America has a president? Who?

              It can't be the guy with dementia that keeps telling reporters variations along the lines of "I'll get in trouble if I talk to you", that keeps needing to be led gently away from anybody that might ask him questions and that shows all the leadership of a four year old. Along with other comparable behaviours.

              So who is this President because right now the world sees a massive vacuum. Is that what you mean by a world vacuum?

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: To blatantly unnecessarily turn this political

          Yes, I got what you intended, but it doesn't hold water. Also, I am not apologising for anyone; I doubt I like Mr Trump any more than you do and I disagreed with his administration's policies on Russia (among other things). The point I am making is that there's nothing here for which to apologise. You seem to have missed the fact that he's the FORMER Moron-in-Chief; right now he isn't the anything-in-chief. Which brings us to the problem: blaming him for this incident simply isn't logical. If your hypothesis is that Mr Putin's belligerent actions in the Black Sea are the result of being emboldened by Mr Trump, then I have two questions for you to answer:

          1. How do you explain the fact that he sent goons to take over Crimea and then ran a sham referendum to annex it in March 2014, when Mr Trump had yet to even file his candidacy papers at that time? That is, please explain how an obnoxious television host's mere existence emboldened the Russians.

          2. How do you explain the fact that this latest incident occurred more than 5 months after Mr Trump left office? That is, if his presence emboldened the Russians, shouldn't his absence pacify them?

          So your theory is bunk, I'm not in Georgia (if I were, discussing Mr Putin on the interwebs would be quite foolish), and although he makes a decent whipping boy Mr Trump is not the bogeyman. A great many unpleasant things have happened, and will happen, without his involvement or contribution. If you believe the Americans are to blame for this particular incident, or Russia's belligerence in general, then you need to accept that several governments besides Mr Trump's have to share in that blame; none of them have done anything to rein in the Russians and as I've now pointed out twice, Russia's annexation of Crimea occurred long before he took office. Other posters have further pointed out that Russia have been meddling in that part of the world for centuries, long before Mr Trump's birth and even before the very existence of the USA. You really must get over the idea that every bad thing ever is Mr Trump's fault. It's infantile, and prevents you from addressing the true causes of your problems.

          Oh, and you never did answer my previous question. Small wonder; geopolitics is harder than it looks.

          1. Snake Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: To blatantly unnecessarily turn this political

            "How do you explain the fact that this latest incident occurred more than 5 months after Mr Trump left office? That is, if his presence emboldened the Russians, shouldn't his absence pacify them?"

            Did Chamberlain's accord with Hitler pacify HIM?

            Wow. I am terribly sorry but your statement is rather naive. Believing that there will be an instant change of direction from a bully-dictator, once a single action has occurred, is historically foolish. Putin was empowered by a weak, actually almost encouraging, challenger - Trump - and it will take quite a while for any new, mitigating actions to have the desired effect on Putin's...ego.

        5. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: To blatantly unnecessarily turn this political

          @gandalfcn

          "The point was that Trump emboldened Putin"

          How? It was under Obama that the US was warned to watch out as Russia will be firing missiles into Syria at a specific time. That wet lettuce did the US no favours dealing with Russia

    3. rjsmall

      Re: To sadly turn this political

      Unfortunately I think the US "pivot" towards the Pacific emboldened Russia whilst pissing off China. Although Russia might not have the latest military hardware they do have numbers and if you look at WWII they don't hesitate to use them.

      1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

        Re: To sadly turn this political

        Although Russia might not have the latest military hardware they do have numbers and if you look at WWII they don't hesitate to use them.

        If you look at WWII, the USSR was attacked by 3.8 million Axis soldiers in Operation Barbarossa. If you’d had numbers, would you have hesitated to use them to defend yourself?

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: To sadly turn this political

          The irony of course being that Russia didn't have the numbers back then. They conscripted civilians and sent them into battle to be slaughtered.

          So no, I wouldn't do that. That was an act of desperation that demonstrated Soviet leadership's view of their citizens as disposable resources.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: To sadly turn this political

            As the COVID demonstrated, lives of citizens are disposable resources.

          2. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: To sadly turn this political

            While I agree with your 'disposable resource' point, the soviets DID have the numbers in mid 1941, losing vast numbers in the first few weeks when they* discovered that they were not even close to matching the German military at combined operations warfare (artillery, armour & aircraft as a team).

            *as did everyone in western europe during May/June 1940

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: To sadly turn this political

              @Wellyboot

              "they were not even close to matching the German military at combined operations warfare (artillery, armour & aircraft as a team)."

              I remember reading about how amazing the Russian tanks were. The Germans were is awe at these almost impenetrable marvels. Of course the Russians lost most engagements because they didnt know how to use tanks effectively.

              I seem to remember something similar about the Russian airforce just flying in circles because they didnt get the idea of working as a team.

          3. Irony Deficient Silver badge

            Re: To sadly turn this political

            So no, I wouldn't do that.

            Cederic, having the benefit of eighty years of hindsight, what would you have done instead on 22nd June 1941 to defend the USSR in its historical condition on that date (i.e. without changing events or situations prior to that date, e.g. no “don’t purge the officer corps in the Great Terror of 1936–1939” or “redeploy more of the Red Army away from the western borders”)?

            1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

              Re: To sadly turn this political

              How about "Don't deploy your armies in an offensive posture when you're not planning to attack?"

              If you want to know what I would do differently, then, by definition, you are allowing me to change the facts of history.

              And purging the officer corps was a monumental folly. Stalin was obsessed (at one level) with the idea that the capitalists were looking for any opportunity to attack. That purge not only got rid of leadership he desperately needed (weakening his forces dramatically), the surviving officers were deeply intimidated, preventing the sort of crazy ideas that allow leaders to pull victories out of thin air.

              Of course, no one but Mr Mustache Man seems to have learned about modern combined operations from the Spanish civil war, but the data was there. And it's not like combined infantry/cavalry/artillery assaults were unknown to the 19th century commanders. But again, if you kill off all of your vaguely free-thinking officers, you're gonna miss things like that.

              1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

                Re: To sadly turn this political

                How about "Don’t deploy your armies in an offensive posture when you’re not planning to attack?"

                Claptrap314, on 22nd June 1941, the approximately 2.75 million soldiers of the Red Army in the military districts on the western border were not deployed in an offensive posture. The USSR was still shipping grains, oil, rubber, and manganese to Germany when the Axis attacked (and the stockpiled oil and rubber in particular were used in carrying out Operation Barbarossa). Stalin’s belief was that the Red Army would not be able to face the Axis on an equal footing until 1944, and so he did whatever he could to not incite Hitler before then, including shipping vital war matériel to Germany.

                If you want to know what I would do differently, then, by definition, you are allowing me to change the facts of history.

                I’d asked Cederic because he’d stated that he would not use numbers to defend the USSR against the Axis, as the USSR historically did; if he would not have used numbers, then that fact of history would by definition change. If you’re interested in answering the question that was posed to Cederic, then feel free, as long as you observe the same constraints; you can take advantage of eight decades of hindsight, but you can only change the historical decisions that were taken on or after 22nd June 1941.

                1. Cederic Silver badge

                  Re: To sadly turn this political

                  l reject your artificial ruleset and choose not to play.

                  1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

                    Re: To sadly turn this political

                    As you wish. Since you’re unwilling to reveal your superior alternative to the USSR’s historical numbers-based reaction to Barbarossa, some might conclude that that alternative was not historically available to Stavka.

                2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

                  Re: To sadly turn this political

                  You deny that Russia's forces were deployed in a vaguely offensive posture? And you speak as if you have knowledge of military history.

                  1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

                    Re: To sadly turn this political

                    On 22nd June 1941, yes, the Red Army was not deployed in even a “vaguely” offensive posture on the border between East Prussia and Romania. If you have evidence of Soviet plans to attack Germany (and German-occupied Poland) in 1941, I’d welcome learning about it. (They were still in the midst of a reörganization of their poorly supplied mechanized corps when Barbarossa began; Soviet logistics at that date were also ill-suited for offensive warfare.)

    4. macjules Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: To sadly turn this political

      But what was the actual point of this manoeuvre? Was it to antagonise or test Russia into taking action so that we can say, "Ooh look at the nasty baddie." If it was a simple test of the TSS then surely a Ukrainian vessel could have done this, with significantly less fanfare and publicity? Or perhaps that is what they wanted.

      Next up: Russian fishing vessels are seen fishing in British waters.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: To sadly turn this political

        It's a matter of size and ability to resist.

        If a Ukrainian ship (not that they have anything particularly sizable) had tried this, the Russians would have threatened, boarded, and impounded the vessel, subjecting the crew to some humiliating questioning and threats of 'espionage' before letting them back into Ukraine, although they would probably keep the ship.

        The fact that it was a major vessel with significant offensive and defensive capability, from a navy that is well respected, which was testing an internationally agreed (with the exception of the Russians) trade route, they would be mad to do anything more than just posture.

        If a Russian trawler obtains a UK fishing license, it would be free to fish in UK territorial waters. If they didn't, they could be quite legally prevented from fishing in these waters. We have fishery protection vessels to make sure this happens.

      2. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: To sadly turn this political

        The Russians regularly sail through the English Channel, at much closer distances to UK territory than the Royal Navy did here. We don't interfere because the UK respects the International Laws of the Sea.

        1. batfink Silver badge

          Re: To sadly turn this political

          Yes - to the accompaniment of much pants-wetting in the Sun and the Daily Mail.

        2. John Jennings Silver badge

          Re: To sadly turn this political

          Actually, we buzzed the Russian carrier when it was in the Channel. You didnt hear the half of it.

          We 'shadowed' it for most of its journey to Syria. We sent a Duncan and Richmond on the way down and a frigate and typhoons as it came back - and judging by the footage on the BBC - we 'escorted' it quite closely.

          Tampering with AIS is common for the military - all sides have always done it.

          Remember that the incident where the US frigate was rammed a bulk carrier in the China Sea? It (the frigate) had its AIS disabled at the time (intentionally - military ships have a switch on the bridge for obvious reasons - illegal or not)

          https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/fitzgerald-made-20-knots-through-traffic-without-ais

          As to spoofing - The Iranians managed to capture a Drone with a simmilar technique years ago. The Pentagon just turn the whole thing off in an area when they want to:

          https://www.computerworld.com/article/2585261/pentagon-is-probably-jamming-gps-in-afghanistan--experts-say.html

          or reprogramme it as required for a region

        3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: To sadly turn this political

          And the Spanish navy sail through Gibralter's territorial waters and we don't interfere ... Oh. Wait ...

      3. Lon24 Silver badge

        Re: To sadly turn this political

        "Next up: British fishing vessels are seen fishing in British waters." FTFY.

        It's so 1904 and didn't end well for the Ruskie fleet: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogger_Bank_incident

        1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells
          Linux

          Re: To sadly turn this political

          I seem to remember the Russian Navy got their arses handed to them by a Japanese fishing fleet maybe a year later too.

          1. batfink Silver badge

            Re: To sadly turn this political

            Hardly a "fishing fleet" they were facing there, but it must have been highly embarrassing for the Russians to sail their fleet half-way round the world to Tsushima just to have it sunk there.

            It would have been much more efficient to just scuttle the fleet after the debacle with the British fishing boats on the Dogger Bank, and save everyone a lot of time, money and effort.

      4. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: To sadly turn this political

        Do they still have their plethora of antennas for fishing?

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: To sadly turn this political

          Yes, they never miss an episode of the Archers.

    5. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: To sadly turn this political

      Can we have that in English, please?

  2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    AIS works on an honesty-based system, at its simplest.

    Sure, because there's no way that could go wrong.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Whereas the alternative is; I'm going to ignore that bulk carrier heading toward me because I don't trust the Liberian agency that signed its authentication key

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Brings to mind the (probably apocryphical) tale of the US aircraft carrier and the lighthouse...

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      I believe in South Korea all boats regardless of size must have AIS onboard. AIS-A is required as usual for larger vessel, AIS-B for everything else. Tampering/fiddling etc. with it is a serious offencei think but I can't remember what the penalties are.

      1. John Jennings Silver badge

        Yes - but fishermen to protect their grounds and choice spots, and military vessels often have a 'fault' switch in reality.....

  3. martinusher Silver badge

    Just a FYI

    The Crimea houses a number of Russia's military assets and has done so for literally hundreds of years (I think their naval presence dates back to the 18th century). Even during Soviet times when Khrushchev (a Ukraine native) made the peninsula part of Ukraine large areas were still Federal reservations. Given its strategic importance its unlikely that Russia would give up its bases to NATO just like that so pretending that Russia invaded Crimea is a bit fatuous, their forces were already firmly in place and are unlikely to be displaced.

    Just for the record, I'm not Russian, I don't work for Russians and so on. I just happen to know some of the history of the area and kind of resent the continual attempts to rewrite it for mass consumption. I also think its rather silly sailing warships inside territorial waters, its just a provocation -- the Russians will have to do something, shoo it away like an annoying fly, but realistically they could blow the thing out of the water if they thought they had to. So we endanger one small ship and its crew for what? Impotent chest thumping.

    Incidentally, its worth looking up the history of the Crimean war. It seems that not a whole lot has changed in British attitudes to Empire in nearly 200 years. Too bad the world has moved on.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Just a FYI

      Calais is a vital English base in our wars against the French, you can't expect us to give it up.

      1. Chris 15
        FAIL

        Re: Just a FYI

        Holy false equivalence batman! Much as I have no love for the thieving (and murderous) Russian government I don't think that gunboat diplomacy by us helps the situation.

        1. Tomato42

          Re: Just a FYI

          Russia signed off Crimea when Ukraine gained independence. If it was such an important asset and integral part of Russia they shouldn't have given it off. Nobody forced them to do it.

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: Just a FYI

            They also handed over all the local Nukes ( several thousand including ICBMs) to Ukraine at independence and a few years later to world applause they decommissioned them all.

            The current Crimea situation would have been very different had they kept them.

      2. JohnG

        Re: Just a FYI

        "Calais is a vital English base in our wars against the French, you can't expect us to give it up."

        But 67% of the residents of Calais aren't British.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just a FYI

          I don't know which way the numbers fall, here, but we probably need to be careful how we are categorizing people: by language? someone's notion of their cultural identity? what is written down on some document? How old a document?

          I imagine that although such distinctions very likely matter very little in Calais, they will be relevant in Crimea.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Just a FYI

            Crimea is internationally recognised as part of the Ukraine. Only Russia thinks it's Russia.

            There is no ambiguity.

            1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Just a FYI

              It's merely a favourite "vacation" spot for off-duty Russian Special Forces troops.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Just a FYI

                favourite "vacation" spot

                And so is Salisbury, for those special forces members with an interest in cathedral spires. Lets not forget how "provocative" the Russians were against UK residents/visitors and their disregard for collateral damage to innocents.

            2. albaleo

              Re: Just a FYI

              "Only Russia thinks it's Russia."

              And the residents of Crimea I think.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Just a FYI

                There was a referendum that officially expressed the will of the Crimean residents to be rejoined with Mother Russia.

                The only question to be answered is if it was performed the same way it was done when Belgium annexed parts of Germany after WWI.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: And the residents of Crimea I think.

                Some of them think that, I would think. Others would consider themselves Ukrainian, and there may still be some older residents who consider themselves Soviets. Also, there will be a number of ordinary immigrants to the Crimea accumulated over many years, who might consider themselves Bulgarian, Greek, or Armenian, or any number of other possibilities, depending on where ever they might happen to think of themselves as belonging to or being from. I would even imagine there are some Crimean nationalists, who want the Crimea to become independent. It's not unlikely that a good proportion will have a combination of allegiances or national/ethnic identities.

                And none of this necessarily has much to do with whatever official paperwork or status they might hold, or have foisted on them by whatever officialdom happened to think a good idea at the time.

                Whatever the case, and however imaginatively the actual statistics might be selectively represented to suit ones particular agenda, this doesn't excuse an invasion.

    2. Jim Mitchell Silver badge

      Re: Just a FYI

      "their forces were already firmly in place and are unlikely to be displaced."

      So its OK if the US army rolls out of Gitmo and takes Havana? They were already there, you know.

      1. JohnG

        Re: Just a FYI

        "So its OK if the US army rolls out of Gitmo and takes Havana?"

        There would be strong words in the UN.

        If you remember, in 1983 the US rolled into Grenada (a British protectorate) and setup a new political party, which magically won the elections. Little was said and nothing was done about it.

        But neither Cuba nor Grenada have a majority of American residents, whereas the majority of Crimean residents consider themselves Russian - and according to the UN, self determination is everything.

        1. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: Just a FYI

          whereas the majority of Crimean residents consider themselves Russian

          This is mostly because Russia deported massively Tatars from Crimea. Nowadays we call that an ethnic cleansing:

          "Crimean Tatars constituted the majority of Crimea's population from the time of ethnogenesis until the mid-19th century, and the largest ethnic population until the end of the 19th century.Almost immediately after the retaking of Crimea from Axis forces, in May 1944, the USSR State Defense Committee ordered the deportation of all of the Crimean Tatars from Crimea, including the families of Crimean Tatars serving in the Soviet Army."

          Also, 75,000 Crimea Tatars died during the 1920s by hunger because of collectivization, when their crops were taken from them and send elsewhere in Russia.

          Crimea was "Russified", the dirty way.

          If the US invades Cuba, puts every Cuban in a boat, with only Americans citizens in Guantanamo staying, would it be legitimate to accept a pro-US self-determination referendum after that?

          1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

            Re: Just a FYI

            You described the conquest of the us west, arizona, texas and california. Also Florida.

            1. The First Dave

              Re: Just a FYI

              And would that be considered acceptable if it were to occur today? I think not.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Just a FYI

              conquest of the us west

              Actually, I think you almost described the conquest of the entire North American sub-continent. Just with different dates and numbers,

          2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Just a FYI

            Crimea was "Russified", the dirty way.

            But such is politics. Crimea's history is fascinating, and kinda helped force the relocation of the 'Russian' capital to Moscow. Mainly on account of Crimean Tatars & Ottomans threatening it. Then along came Catherine the Great, who conquered Crimea. Under the Ottomans, Crimea was mostly autonomous and did a fair bit of slave trading, raiding, piracy etc. They were a bit more active and less depressive than modern-day Goths.

            So since 1783, it became part of the Russian Empire as part of the Taurida Oblast, then there was the great Turkey hunt of 1853, where Britain & France allied with the Ottomans and had the Crimean War against the Russian Empire. We kinda roflstomped Sevastopol and Russia's Black Sea fleet, but Russia ended up keeping Crimea. Then rebuilding it and rebasing it's Black Sea fleet there.

            Which is kinda why Russia wanted to keep Crimea. It had a large, strategic base there and a large Russian population. Then we orchestrated the Ukrainian revolution, and their new government decided to take away Crimea's autonomy.. Which it'd been ignorined pre-revolution anyway. But Ukraine also ended up becoming a tad extreme far-right and anti-Russian. So Crimea elected to rejoin Russia, in a mostly democratic kinda way.

            But again, such is politics. The West has wanted to block Russia from the Black Sea for a long time, because that also shuts them out of the Mediterranean Sea. Naturally, Russia's opposed to this idea. There are also other geopolitical issues, like the US's occupation of a large & strategic chunk of Syria. So if that's ok and legal, so is Russia's annexation of Crimea.. Especially as the Crimean population seems happy with that outcome.

            So there's been various shows of force in the Black Sea with Western navies sailing around, and Russian forces gathering ELINT, testing their offensive & defensive systems like Russia's new jammers. And the West would be doing the same, especially as our Type-45s are pretty handy intelligence gathering platforms.

            But luckily the situation hasn't detoriated. It's not naval guns that are the main threat, more stuff like the K-300P Bastion-P and it's Oniks missiles. The Type-45 is designed to defend against that kind of threat, and Bastion complexes are based in Crimea.. And also have a land attack capability. So hopefully we won't have to find out if our anti-missile defences work.

    3. e_is_real_i_isnt

      Re: Just a FYI

      The present situation only tangentially involves the take-over of Crimea and mainly involves that Russia has been infiltrating military and political operatives into Ukraine to build a "grass roots"-in-appearance violent civil war which Russia will then "mediate" by steam-rolling across all of Ukraine and declaring that a truce is announced after the Ukraine government is put against the wall.

      This is because Putin hates the idea that Ukraine could be admitted to NATO where NATO countries would immediately cover the border with Russia and start ejecting the Russian military and political assets back to Russia.

      Recall that these same infiltrated assets blew a civilian airliner out of the sky as they had been itching to take out a Ukraine military flight and blame it on Ukraine military.

      There's money to be made by Putin taking control of Ukraine and money to be lost if Ukraine is accepted by NATO.

      The playbook is clear - infiltrate with adversarial forces, create structural problems, suggest that war will devastate civilian populations and then move massive military assets in to "stabilize" the situation. If NATO membership happens then none of that works, so it's likely we will see Russia trying to step up the timetable.

      1. John Jennings Silver badge

        Re: Just a FYI

        There was an (albeit informal) agreement under Regan that there would be no push of NATO further East after East Germany and Turkey. Russia was weak with the collapse of the CCCP and Warsaw pact. It isnt so today. We broke that with the inclusion of the Baltic states.

        Why would Russia (or anyone else) take agreements with Western nations on faith again? Indeed, faith agreements or written ones (see Iran and the unilateral withdrawal from those agreements at a political whim by the West)

        The one thing that ticks off ALL russian strategy is encirclement. Its why they pushed back on Crimea. When we caused the Ukranian revolt (and make no mistake, we caused it and installed our boys - right wing (nuts) or not) under Clinton, then Obama, we threw out that agreement.

        We may yet reap what we sow.

        https://www.nato.int/docu/review/articles/2014/07/01/nato-enlargement-and-russia-myths-and-realities/index.html

        1. twostime

          Re: Just a FYI

          Have to agree. BTW this is interesting independent research: https://www.zois-berlin.de/fileadmin/media/Dateien/3-Publikationen/ZOiS_Reports/2017/ZOiS_Report_3_2017.pdf

      2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Just a FYI

        The present situation only tangentially involves the take-over of Crimea and mainly involves that Russia has been infiltrating military and political operatives into Ukraine to build a "grass roots"-in-appearance violent civil war which Russia will then "mediate" by steam-rolling across all of Ukraine and declaring that a truce is announced after the Ukraine government is put against the wall.

        Yup, that's pretty much how Ukraine's revolution happened. Mysterious snipers shooting people on both sides in the Maidan, crowd goes wild, coup at eleven. Same thing happened in other 'color' revolutions, leading to interesting times in places like Libya, Syria etc.

        This is because Putin hates the idea that Ukraine could be admitted to NATO where NATO countries would immediately cover the border with Russia and start ejecting the Russian military and political assets back to Russia.

        That's perhaps wishful thinking. It wouldn't automagically mean NATO forces deployed to retake Crimea and Ukraine's breakaway regions. Couple of big issues there, like Ukraine not exactly being a democracy, and it's neo-nazi problem. Plus NATO membership wouldn't give Ukraine cover for more agression because the mutual protection pact doesn't trigger if the NATO member started it. And of course Russia's already given a red line regarding reprisals and ethnic cleansing of Russians living in Ukraine.

        But such is politics. What's happened to Ukraine is a bit of a tragedy. It's in far worse shape now that in was when it was in Russia's sphere. It's lost it's main trading partner, it's subject to EU quotas, and attempting to meet EU accession criteria has increased poverty even further. Even though Ukraine's investing more in it's military following the dismal performance during it's civil war, it would be no match for Russia. And if NATO forces did decide to intervene, well, that could/would end up escalating fast.

    4. PerlyKing Silver badge

      Re: Provocation

      I also think its rather silly sailing warships inside territorial waters, its just a provocation -- the Russians will have to do something, shoo it away like an annoying fly, but realistically they could blow the thing out of the water if they thought they had to.

      Nobody except Russia recognises their occupation of Ukraine, and if we keep on letting them get away with it where will they stop?

      Sinking a NATO ship is eminently possible, but would be very unwise. It would be very hard to pass it off as an accident, especially after explicitly threatening to bomb them. And it would effectively be a declaration of war against the NATO nations, which would not end well for anyone.

      As usual, this is posturing for internal consumption in Russia. Putin is like a playground bully showing off for his mates, but acting innocent in front of the grownups. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, this playground bully has nuclear weapons.

      1. CountCadaver

        Re: Provocation

        Thing is...the Russians would lose, most of their military is falling apart, doesn't mean though that they couldn't cause vast damage with the parts that still function though....

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Provocation

          You think the UK military is in any better shape?

      2. twostime

        Re: Provocation

        "Nobody except Russia..." well actually that is wrong see voting results here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_Resolution_68/262#Voting

        "As usual, this is posturing for internal consumption in Russia." No, the Brits knew exactly what they were doing by sailing that route, it was UK provocation, with at least two embedded journalists on board to "witness" this, from a boat where a deal between the UK and Kiev had just been signed, and on the 80th anniversary of Operation Barbarossa - (Nazi invasion).

        Might be worth enlightening yourself - try here: https://translogistics.co.uk/2021/06/british-warships-should-not-be-goading-a-nuclear-armed-state-in-the-black-sea/ for a business (not political) view.

        1. PerlyKing Silver badge

          Re: Provocation

          Voting: while you are technically correct (the best kind ;-) I think that the list of countries which sided with Russia is quite telling: Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Zimbabwe. 11 out of 193 countries. And according to the footnote, "Armenia officially does not recognize Crimea as Russian territory."

          Posturing: I should have been clearer: I meant the posturing on the Russian side. As I understand it, the majority of Russian citizens are unlikely to see any news from outside Russia and so any posturing by the UK would be lost on them.

          The history is fascinating and as usual nobody comes out smelling of roses. On the subject of hypocrisy, Russia accused the UK of breaking international law by sailing through Russian waters - but the UN doesn't recognise those waters as being Russian.

          It's a complicated situation, but in my opinion the rest of the world shouldn't just let Russia get away with invading its neighbours. Having voted in the UN to not recognise Russia's sovereignty over Crimea, why would a UK ship not sail through Ukrainian waters with permission from Ukraine?

          There's a fine line here between provocation and appeasement, and I don't think that appeasement is the way to go.

    5. Trigun Bronze badge

      Re: Just a FYI

      Look deeper. It's entirely possible (though not certain by any means) that this is a retaliation. Russia sends planes near or into UK airspace repeatedly. The UK sends a ship near or into disputed waters. Tit-for-tat. Or it could be as other have said and more about NATO membership.

      As for UK attitudes to empire: I think you are conflating and entirely wrong. Good try though. Although if you want to suckle on that particular teet then perhaps take a look at Putin as he *does* want to get back what the USSR had, empire-wise.

    6. Mishak

      Re: Just a FYI

      Having a military base in another country for a long time does not make it part of "your" country. For example the US has bases in Germany, Turkey, Japan, ... and the UK has bases in Germany, Belize, ...; neither claim territorial waters (but there will be exclusion zones around any bases on the coast).

  4. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Shipping channel

    The issue is a tricky one diplomatically. By having a RN ship in the Black Sea, the British Government has to decide on a course for it to sail. If it follows the channel referred to in the article, and approved by the Ukraine authorities who according to international law own the Crimea, then it is consistent with HMG's position on the Russian illegal annexation of Crimea. If, however, it avoids the region of sea claimed by Russia as their territorial waters, then it would be hailed by the Russians as de facto acceptance by the UK of Russia's ownership of the Crimea.

    This was clearly a premeditated act to show the UK's position on Ukraine's sovereignty, and hopefully part of a well-thought out and sensible foreign policy strategy.

    1. JohnG

      Re: Shipping channel

      I think western governments have misjudged the determination of the Russian governement and of ordinary Russian citizens to hold onto Crimea. Navalny (America/Western Europe's favoured candidate for the Russian presidency) was asked if he would give up Crimea, if he were the Russian president - he said he would not. Just as in 2014, Putin's popularity would likely be boosted by a defence of Crimea.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shipping channel

        I believe you are probably correct. That said, there are a few interesting points here:

        1. Deliberately abusing AIS in peacetime makes it that much easier for the West to violate "Russian waters" with impunity in future and claim that Russia lied. That's a line the SVR would certainly have wanted Mr Putin to consider here.

        2. It's not terribly difficult to view Crimea as a referendum on the UNSC's basic mandate, which is to prevent border changes though non-peaceful means. Russia's feeble effort at making this look good is an admission of the legitimacy of that mandate. How far do they want to carry it?

        3. If Russia wouldn't give up Crimea, what would they give up instead? Their permanent seat on the UNSC? Would China fight for them (almost certainly -- right now) if that came up?

        4. Russia's military strength is inconsequential to the USA but not to many of its neighbours, and maybe not even to the UK. At what point do those neighbours decide they've had enough, if they even have sufficiently coherent and independent governments to make that call? If they do, what comes next?

        As a Western hardliner, I'm very interested in learning just how important Mr Putin considers Crimea. His citizens are thoroughly propagandised; one can't expect their help. They might well rally 'round the flag even for a more sensible leader. But what's it worth to them collectively? Their bases there are of little real importance (the USA could knock them all out in minutes), but they may be terribly important psychologically.

        So your assessment sounds right to me, but there are far more layers to this onion. Geopolitics is a treacherous art. Answers, or at least correct answers, don't come easily.

        1. ortunk

          Re: Shipping channel

          I don't think US was ever able to take out the Russian submarine base of Black Sea, (which is under where?) :)

        2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

          Re: Shipping channel

          As a Western hardliner, I'm very interested in learning just how important Mr Putin considers Crimea. […] Their bases there are of little real importance (the USA could knock them all out in minutes), but they may be terribly important psychologically.

          He considered it important enough to declare Sevastopolʹ a federal city (a status that only Moscow and St. Petersburg had previously), and to construct the road/rail Crimean Bridge across the Kerch Strait. I disagree that Sevastopolʹ is of little real importance as a naval base to Russia; it was important enough to them that Medvedev had extended the Russian Navy’s leasing of its base from Ukraine until 2042. The sieges of Sevastopolʹ in both the Crimean War and WWII undoubtedly enhanced its psychological importance to Russians.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm very interested in learning just how important Mr Putin considers Crimea

          no matter how I loathe Putin and his system, there's absolutely no doubt Crimea is VERY important to Russians. Not that folks recognize the strategic position, etc., but they're very... sentimental, particularly painting this rosy picture of the USSR, where Crimea was their ultimate (hard to reach, but doable) piece of 'tropics' they parachuted onto each summer. This sentiment is incredibly strong in Russia. So, when Putin 'brought it back to the Motherland', they were ecstatic because, momentarily, they felt their Past Greatness Is Back (Crimea is ours!). Russians have always had a terrible inferiority complex against the West, Crimea gave them this naive hope that now they will be Great Again, and that the West shall tremble in their boots, etc. Ironically, they never get that the West will always fear them, sure, because of Russian unpredictability (or projected unpredictability), disregard for human life and because of nukes, but the West will never admire them for those 'values'.

          p.s. I don't know if this sentiment of Crimea holidays of past resonates with young generation of Russians, other than through memories of their parents, but I imagine, any young (or old) generation in any country, that is suffering from some hardship, or perceived hardship, is stupid enough to fall for the usual 'let's reclaim past glory!' slogans. Make Britain Great Again, eh? I see this used across Europe, and even, - though in between the lines, for obvious reasons - in German mainstream politics.

          Occasionally it does help to have your nation depopulated and a country war-flattened, it seems to re-focus people on... priorities. End of rant.

          1. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

            Re: I'm very interested in learning just how important Mr Putin considers Crimea

            An excellent summary, thank you.

        4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Shipping channel

          "Their bases there are of little real importance (the USA could knock them all out in minutes), but they may be terribly important psychologically."

          Year round warm water port. It's what most Russian aggression has been about for centuries.

      2. graeme leggett

        Re: Shipping channel

        While a possible candidate Navalny is no more likely to say he'd give up Crimea than Johnson is to say he'd sell off the NHS - it'd just give Putin a huge opportunity to attack him.

        Pragmatically, if he did become president, Navalny might find he had to make some accommodation over Ukraine.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Shipping channel

          Pragmatically, if he did become president, Navalny might find he had to make some accommodation over Ukraine.

          That's an extremely unlikely prospect. Navalny isn't exactly popular or even well known inside Russia. Yet for some reason, the West has decided he's a future Russian president. Or martyr. The real, main opposition party in Russia is still it's communists.

    2. graeme leggett

      Re: Shipping channel

      The RN have been sending Type 45s to the Black Sea annually since 2017.

      As these are air defence ships and in this recent case it was teamed with a Dutch air-defence frigate, I'm sure it can't have hurt their capability if Russia did try flying some of their aircraft near it. Just as it can't have hurt the Russians to fly their aircraft near it and see what that the ships' reactions were.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shipping channel

      it was also a test before doing a similar move alongside China's 'internal' waters, coming up very shortly. Stay tuned...

    4. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Shipping channel

      hopefully part of a well-thought out and sensible foreign policy strategy

      With the present government?

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Shipping channel

        Emphasis on the "hopefully".

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    America has plenty of form, in 1898 they seized Hawaii, which still has the Union Jack on it state flag

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      And more recently "

      1949 Syrian coup d'état

      1949–1953 Albania

      1951–56 Tibet

      1953 Iranian coup d'état

      1954 Guatemalan coup d'état

      1956–57 Syria crisis

      1960 Congo coup d'état

      1961 Cuba, Bay of Pigs Invasion

      1961 Dominican Republic

      1963 South Vietnamese coup

      1964 Bolivian coup d'état

      1964 Brazilian coup d'état

      1966 Ghana coup d’état

      1967 US manufactured coup in Greece

      1971 Bolivian coup d'état

      1970–73 Chile

      1980 Turkish coup d'état

      1979–89 Afghanistan, Operation Cyclone

      1980 -1988 material support for Iraq against Iran

      1981–87 Nicaragua, Contras

      1996 Iraq coup attempt

      2001 Afghanistan

      2011 Libyan civil war

      2011–present Syria

      IRA

      1. John Jennings Silver badge

        Ummmm

        Think you missed a few there.....

        Samoa

        Cuba (Multiple times)

        Panama (multiple times)

        Honduas

        Haiti (multiple times)

        South Korea

        Vietnam

        Russia

        Iraq

        etc.

        (assuming you are including unsuccessful interventions and setting up failed states as well)

        According to Wikki (the dubious font of all knowlege), The US has actually been directly (overt or Covert) involved in 81 regime changes. That does include some countries multiple times. Tripoli/Lybia being the first instance.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_involvement_in_regime_change

  6. gandalfcn Silver badge

    "Yesterday Defender briefly sailed through Ukrainian waters, triggering the Russian Navy and coastguard into sending patrol boats and anti-shipping aircraft to buzz the British warship in a fruitless effort to divert her away from occupied Crimea's waters."

    Interesting statement. Presumably the same can be stated when Russian vessels sail close to the UK.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Ukranian waters

      not Russian

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Why are you telling me? Do you know what " " mean?

        Did you bother to read the article? Obviously not.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Non beligerant ships are allowed to pass through territorial waters without interference under international seafaring treaty. So a British warship can pass through Russian (or really Ukrainian) waters if it wants just as a Russian ship can pass through British waters.

      Obviously it would be different if the ship were belligerent or lingered in those waters but I doubt the UK warship was doing any such thing. So Russia had to fabricate a bunch of bullshit to make itself look tough when nothing at all happened in reality.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Quite, which was my point. The UK (and the USA) do exactly the same.

    3. Binraider Bronze badge

      Russia operates various tattletale boats and submarines, just as their Soviet predecessors did. Highly recommend reading the Silent Deep. One job of the SSN boats is to chase off red SSNs that might otherwise be trying to get a sound profile of the SSBNs.

      When it comes to surveillance aircraft or ships poking around, you can be assured they are looking for sigint.

      We do, they do it, and sometimes it gets out of hand. Dangerous game.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Totally correct, which was the point of my posts. But it "triggered" people.

  7. Bartholomew

    The AIS protocol operates on frequencies (channels 87B 161.975 MHz and 88B 162.025 MHz) at power levels (usually less than 5 Watts) that limit it to about five times (100 km ; 60 miles) line of sight (LOS at sea level is about 19.6 kilometres l 12.2 miles).

    So in reality this AIS poising is only a localised problem for local black sea users at night time or in fog. And since Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey (the other locals) are all more than 100 km away from the Crimean peninsula. It is little more than a very weak political statement saying look at us we can abuse an open standard and are pissing in local swimming pool. It is a bit sad that the Russian state are doing what pretty much any individual who owns a SDR (Software Defined Radio) with transmit capabilities, who has read and fully understood the public AIS standard (search for "M.1371 site:itu.int" in your browser of choice) could do. And almost all individuals who could, choose not to because it is a stupid waste of time and it is illegal to interfere with what is in effect a public system for safety.

    Military vessels would augment harvested AIS and all information with kalman filters, so infrared or visible light cameras, along with passive or active radar, low earth orbit satellites would nearly instantly identify all fake AIS signal sources and paint them as potential targets.

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      But it triggered the government, Mail, Express, and initially the MoD. Objective completed.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But is this just some PR for BAES......whitewash for the billions spent on T45s?

    Link: https://www.navylookout.com/putting-the-type-45-propulsion-problems-in-perspective/

    "The MoD has consistently played down the seriousness of the issue, that had on occasions resulted in total propulsion and electrical failure..."

    "...giving the unfortunate impression that Type 45s are £1Billion cripples"

    Ha!!.....billions well spent to build them......not really "dead in the water".....then more billions spent to fix the cooling problems......go BAES!!....."global reach".......taxpayers love the waste of money!!

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: But is this just some PR for BAES......whitewash for the billions spent on T45s?

      BAE like most of the US defense industry in peace time is just a job creation scheme doing technical development work.

  9. batfink Silver badge

    A couple of things here

    HMS Defender "happened" to have both a BBC and a Daily Mail journalist on board. I don't have a picture of what's normal on RN ships, but I'd guess this isn't, which points to the idea that this whole affair was premeditated. Now it's interesting that it's all being downplayed by the UK government, which makes me wonder about the whole exercise. Surely if the UK is making a point about freedom of navigation and support for Ukraine, then downplaying it is the wrong approach?

    I agree with the previous poster that Putin's response to the coup in Ukraine caught the West off-guard. Had the coup worked properly, it would have been a strategic masterstroke - cutting Russia off from the Black Sea and gaining control over the Nordstream pipeline and therefore the Russian gas supply to Europe. Now it's all a bit embarrassing, as can be seen from the US's frankly hysterical reaction to the building of Nordstream 2 (FFS not only sanctioning Russian companies for building a pipeline carrying Russian gas across Russia but also threatening to sanction the mayor of the German town where it's coming ashore). There's not going to be any way short of military action that Putin's going to leave the Crimea, so in the long term we're just going to have to live with it. Bugger.

    Unfortunately, I think that we'll see Western support for Ukraine fading over time now, particularly once Nordstream 2 starts pumping gas into Germany. What's left of Ukraine won't have much strategic importance to the West, and the old troubles with corruption there haven't gone away. It's a pity - it would be nice to see a whole, clean, independent Ukraine, but I can't see how that can happen now.

    1. Zolko Bronze badge

      Re: A couple of things here

      There's not going to be any way short of military action that Putin's going to leave the Crimea

      agreed. And who would want to risk his life to fight for Crimea's independence ? Especially considering history where the West did actually fight for Crimea previously, and it didn't go very well.

      Unfortunately, I think that we'll see Western support for Ukraine fading over time now

      but I disagree here: why is this unfortunate ? It's the West's interference in Ukraine's internal politics that brought the current instability to Ukraine in the first place: it was a peaceful country 10 years ago. The best that could happen to Ukraine is to be left alone so they - the Ukrainians - can sort out the mess for themeselves. The end-result will probably be that their country will be somewhat smaller than it was before the West's meddling ... a lesson to learn may-be ?

    2. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: A couple of things here

      Royal Navy missions often have media representatives on board, usually on the flagship of the formation. If the mission has a sole RN ship involved, it'd obviously be that one.

      Downplaying it is good diplomacy. The message to Russia is 'these are not your waters', downplaying it tells the rest of the world is 'we are not raising tensions', with a message to both of 'Russia do not scare us'.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: A couple of things here

        "Royal Navy missions often have media representatives on board". i.e. when publicity is wanted for an intended action which means the MoD intentionally set out to provoke Ivan. But later realised it had n=been a silly thing to do and tried to downplay it.

        Wouldn't surprise me if de Pfeffel was somewhere in the background pushing things, after all hs adoring fans love to read these things in the Telegraph, Express and Mail.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A couple of things here

          Defender and the Dutch ship were detached from HMS Queen Elizabeth's first big exercise as a complete carrier group.

          Unsurprising that there might be a journo or two onboard various ships of the group.

    3. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: A couple of things here

      "HMS Defender "happened" to have both a BBC and a Daily Mail journalist on board." As instructed by BoJo who no doubt instigated the whole thing to keep the Mail and his fans happy.

  10. DrXym Silver badge

    AIS isn't secure

    It's literally just a beeper which intermittantly sends a packet of info like position, course, vessel type / size, name etc. that allows other vessels to tag it on their plotters & collision avoidance systems.

    It wouldn't be hard for anyone to fake an AIS signal and governments could do it if they wanted to. Maybe the UK should demonstrate the point. Have the Admiral Kuznetsov draw a giant dick in the sea and mock their shitty carrier which can barely sail at the best of times let alone draw a dick.

  11. Zolko Bronze badge

    Ally ?

    The UK and other NATO allies do not recognise Ukraine as enemy-held territory so Defender was sailing through an ally's waters

    in what formal alliance are the UK and Ukraine again ? UK and US are in the NATO, but Ukraine is not. So, for completeness, would you please inform us when and in what occasion did the UK and Ukraine enter an alliance, and what reciprocal obligations does that alliance contain ?

    Because without that information, there could be suspicions that Ukraine is only used as a scapegoat to piss-off Russia. Suspicions that might be fueled by the presence of journalists on the Royal Navy vessel prior and during this incidence.

    1. batfink Silver badge

      Re: Ally ?

      "Enemy-held"? Are we at war with Russia now? I'll admit I haven't been keeping up lately but still I would've thought I'd have noticed...

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

        Re: Ally ?

        Enemy referring to Russia being Ukraine's enemy.

        The evidence for that being that Russia invaded and currently occupies part of Ukraine.

  12. Test Man

    Sounds like the plot of Tomorrow Never Dies.

  13. Jim Whitaker
    Joke

    Old style skills

    I see this as a conspiracy between the Russians and old-style Navigation Officers in the RN. I know that Pontius is bored with people suggesting that GPS makes them redundant and this spat will allow them to demonstrate their continued worth using other means of assurance that the ship really is in the International channel.

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Old style skills

      An element of truth there. The USN recently reintroduced real navigation and seamanship training. After a series of collisions and associated deaths, costs etc.

      1. John PM Chappell

        Re: Old style skills

        Aye, turns out "sailors" actually being able to sail, is rather more important than being able to read a screen and follow a pretty plot. Who knew?

  14. riffrafff

    Fuck Russia.

    1. Zolko Bronze badge
      Paris Hilton

      Easier said than done. Would you care to show the way ?

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Joke

        Hang on, Paris is in France not Russia...

  15. wheelbearing

    Another way of looking at this.... The Budapest Memorandum

    Years ago, back when everyone thought the Cold War was done, Yanks, Brits and Ruskies signed up to security assurances, agreeing (amongs other things) to safeguard the terretorial integrity of the Ukraine, including Crimea.

    Given the amount of important defence sites in Crimea, I bet the Russians assumed they would never have to worry about their influence fading to the extent that they would need to worry about the continued existence of their bases in Crimea. Times change.

    This incident could be seen in the context of us Brits just doing what we legally comitted to do to assist the the Ukraine in protecting their country, rather than just a faded ex-colonial power rattling their rusty weapons.

    Don't forget Ukraine once had had nukes, and agreed to give them up mostly due to the guarantees the Russian Federation, USA and and UK underwrote by signing this memorandum.

    I don't expect Russia would have been so ready to send it's forces in to Crimea if Kiev was able to "push the button" on a bunch of nukes - not that it would have done or even could have done.

    This also puts Donalds' withholding of military support to Ukraine in an even worse light. Not that Biden is making any better job of US foreign policy.

  16. HammerOn1024

    Let's Be Clear

    In the prelude to any shooting war, any warship that is using AIS will remove the hardware; not just shut it off, but remove it.

    As well with ADS-B on aircraft, the units will be removed.

    So, the Russians can spend money on spoofing these systems all they want.

    Also, there's no need to actually send a UAV, boat/ship or other physical actor and trace a course, one can transmit bogus AIS information form anywhere or inject it directly into the AIS infrastructure directly... it's not hard.

  17. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    age-old?

    GPS has been use for right around 30 years, spoofing I suppose for a little less.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bet this won't get an apology from a certain former diplomat though....

    Who keeps parrotiting pro Russian propaganda and claiming NATO has no right to be in the Black Sea etc.....

  19. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Good to know ...

    Reading the article, it seems that the author is very clear about how easy it is to spoof an AIS signal. But he seems to be assuming that spoofing a webcam image is completely impossible ...

  20. Sparkus Bronze badge

    Life imitates art

    Seems to be there was a Bond movie with this plot device.........

  21. martinusher Silver badge

    The Crimea War Ended 170 Years Ago

    The UK seems to be behaving as if its the mid-1800s, provoking a Great Power clash to cement its status in Europe and allay fears about a Russian push towards India. It pushed that warship, complete with a complement of journalists, deliberately into a confrontation with Russia in order to provoke an incident that it could use.....for what purpose is anyone's guess. (Domestic crisis to drown out, perhaps?)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love these type of articles

    It makes me chuckle to see the armchair generals of the Commentariat (without a day of military service between them) getting themselves wet over military hardware stats, hypothetical speculation & scenarios before climaxing over their WWII trivia.

  23. jvf

    back to basics

    Good thing I kept my sextant handy.

    1. Loud Speaker

      Re: back to basics

      Good thing I kept my sextant handy.

      Indeed - you may need it to measure how fast Boris is drifting away from reality.

  24. David Shaw

    This whole affair keeps bringing me back to those arrested US journalists and the subsequent pop-song & video hit

    Sam Fender “it’s a high time for hypersonic missiles”

    https://genius.com/Sam-fender-hypersonic-missiles-lyrics

    actually worth quoting all his lyrics…

    Dutch kids huff balloons in the parking lot

    The Golden Arches illuminate the business park

    I eat myself to death, feed the corporate machine

    I watch the movies, recite every line and scene

    God bless America and all of its allies

    I'm not the first to live with wool over my eyes

    [Verse 2]

    I am so blissfully unaware of everything

    Kids in Gaza are bombed and I'm just out of it

    The tensions of the world are rising higher

    We're probably due another war with all this ire

    I'm not smart enough to change a thing

    I have no answers, only questions, don't you ask a thing

    [Chorus]

    All the silver tongued suits and cartoons that rule my world

    Are saying it's a high time for hypersonic missiles

    And when the bombs drop, darling

    Can you say that you've lived your life?

    Oh, this is a high time for hypersonic missiles

    [Verse 3]

    Cities lie like tumours all across the world

    A cancer eating mankind hidden in our blindside

    They say I'm a nihilist 'cause I can't see

    Any decent rhyme or reason for the life of you and me

    But I believe in what I'm feeling, and I'm firing for you

    This world is gonna end, but till then

    I'll give you everything I've got

    I'll give you everything I've got

    [Bridge]

    Oh, oh, oh, oh

    Oh, oh (C'mon)

    [Chorus]

    All the silver tongued suits and cartoons that rule my world

    Are saying it's a high time for hypersonic missiles

    When the bombs drop, darling

    Can you say that you've lived your life?

    Oh, this is a high time for hypersonic missiles

    [Outro]

    They all do the same, only their names change, honey

    You can join their club if you're born in to money

    It's a high time for hypersonic missiles

    And, oh, this is a high time for hypersonic missiles

    And, oh, this is a high time for hypersonic missiles

    Oh, this is a high time for hypersonic missiles

  25. theloop

    Isn't this the plot of Tomorrow Never Dies?

    "Hacked GPS encoder" or something like that

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