Dark clouds are gathering on the Russian-Ukrainian border, judging by the events taking place, at least some of them came there from the Bosphorus Strait.
The recent active rhetoric between Moscow and Ankara suggests that on this front of Russian-Turkish relations, the Turkey-Russia relations are not so friendly. It can affect not only the events around the Ukraine, but also the Middle East, particularly, in the ongoing military actions in Syria.
Unlike the second direction, Turkey is a relatively new player in the Ukrainian line; and until recently, if it had played a certain role, it was as hidden as possible. Of course, being hidden did not mean that the influence was small. The most obvious example of that was the Crimean Tatars, who were almost entirely in the zone of Turkish influence, coordinating all their actions with Ankara before.
There is an opinion that the Kremlin decided to unite Crimea with Russia at the very moment when a few days if not hours were left before Turkey’s annexation of the peninsula. After that, Turkey took a temporary break, moving the direction of the strikes to Syria, where Russia also had and has vital interests. Of course, Ankara failed to achieve serious success on this front, too, as with Russian military support, Bashar al-Assad’s government first did not give Latakia, the sanctuary of the Alawites, to the Turks and their armed groups, and later managed to clear almost the entire country of terrorists, except for the regions in which Turkey represented itself as a regular army.
The only Turkish attempt to involve Russia in a direct military conflict took place in Syria, when Turkish groups shot down a Russian military plane, however Moscow preferred to settle the issue in another way, and the Russian-Turkish war was postponed.
The second attempt to involve Russia in a war took place in Armenia, when after signing of the ceasefire, a Russian combat helicopter accompanying the military column was hot down from Nakhichevan. The meaning of the action, apparently, was that Moscow was supposed to take punitive measures, which would allow Ankara to recall the Kars-Moscow agreements and enter into a direct confrontation with Russian armed groups under the pretext of protecting Nakhichevan from aggression. This attempt also failed, as Moscow and Baku agreed to consider the incident an accident, which, according to some sources, caused Turkey to be dissatisfied deafly.
What is happening around the Ukraine now is, in fact, a whole scenario in which Turkey has modestly taken on the role of performer. Moreover, it should be noted that before that Turkey was also a performer with the same modesty, but against the West.
I mean the purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems, as a result of which the relations between Russia and Turkey became quite warm; and for some time that warmth was used against the West. Now when Turkey has received what it needed from Russia, Ankara seems to have changed camp again, supplying the Ukraine with other military equipment, particularly Bayraktars, and is trying to escalate tensions in the region in the hope that the nerves of either side, however, will give way; and the first shot announcing the start of a large-scale war will be heard.
Moscow, apparently, understands all this very well, hoping that thanks to both the West and its own efforts, it will still be possible to avoid war. Moreover, it can be assumed that Moscow will then start a chain of punitive actions, the aim of which will be to hit Turkish interests as painfully as possible, be they economic or political.
In particular, Russia closed the air border with Turkey due to a new outbreak of Covid-19, and a few days ago, after a long break, the OSCE Minsk Group unexpectedly became more active, reminding that the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict, which is a closed issue for Ankara and Baku, cannot be considered settled.
By Levon Sardaryan