Ever since the illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea in 2014, the borders between Russia and Ukraine have been veiled in obscurity. Since both nations refuse to recognize the territorial claims of each other, there is no system in place to avoid serious military confrontation.
Enter the Sea of Azov; a small and brackish body of water landlocked deep in the heart of an eight long feud between two post-soviet neighbors. For centuries, this area, along with connections along the Black Sea, served as one of the busiest shipping arteries in Europe; connecting regional powers to the rest of the world. Even today, vessels from every corner of the world dock along her coast; fueling a sea-faring economy which has kept both Russian and Ukrainian communities strong for centuries.
Yet, in this new era of hostilities, not even the Sea of Azov is safe from tensions.
Imbedded deep inside the world's largest mountain range is a region so volatile that the smallest spark could easily induce total regional chaos. This region, known to locals as Doklam, has yet again burst onto the world stage; prompting diplomatic discourse, economic strife, and yes, military deployments.
These military deployments have slowly escalated since the dawn of this standoff last month; attracting countless military units from both China & India onto the front lines. China alone has launched a full scale military exercise in neighboring Tibet; mobilizing entire battalions to full-scale combat readiness.
Covert forces belonging to the Iranian Army launched a surprise naval incursion into the Persian Gulf last Friday; prompting Saudi Arabia to quickly respond.
Occuring in the Marjan Oilfield, Saudi forces are said to have detained three soldiers; all of which were heavily armed. While little is known about this incident, recent events in the gulf theater make this incursion particularly important.
The Marjan Oilfield, along with much of Saudi Arabia's EEZ, is heavily contested with neighboring Iran. Skirmishes over such territory CAN and HAVE broken out in the past.
Day One: The US Downs a Syrian Su-22 in Combat
Not since the war in Kosovo has the United States shot down an enemy aircraft via air-to-air combat. With recent tensions in Eastern Syria, however, it now appears that such a quiet streak is over.
An official statement from Operation Inherent Resolve, an international coalition tasked with combating ISIS, has confirmed that a US F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Su-22 belonging to the Syrian Air Force on June 18th. Said craft was immediately eliminated; crashing to the ground near the contested town of al-Tabqah. Russia, a key ally of the Assad regime, has yet to comment on the current situation. The so called "de-confliction line", however, was in use.