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Goodbye Grotius, Hello Putin

  • Russia’s provocations in the Kerch Strait aren’t just a challenge to Ukraine.

Like Beijing in the South China Sea, Moscow is seeking to undermine international maritime law.

  • James R. Holmes
  • FP

Sunday’s encounter between Russian and Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait, the entryway to the Sea of Azov east of the Crimean peninsula, revived an age-old question in international politics: Can a coastal nation own the sea?

Russian President Vladimir Putin inspects the road section of the Crimean Bridge over the Kerch Strait on March 14. (Yuri Kochetkov/AFP/Getty Images)

International law says no; authoritarian states such as China and Russia say yes.

Which view prevails may depend on whether seafaring societies band together and push back effectively against Moscow and…

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