Brief: Russia’s Show of Strength in the Black Sea

Moscow is sending warnings to its rivals all over the world.

Background: The Black Sea is an important buffer for Russia and provides its fleet with critical access to the Mediterranean. In recent years, especially after the annexation of Crimea, Russia has been strengthening its presence in the Black Sea, regularly conducting military exercises there. But NATO and other major powers that want to limit Russia’s presence at sea have kept a watchful eye on what Moscow is up to in the area. What Happened: Russia’s Ministry of Defense announced large-scale naval drills in the Black Sea. The ministry said the exercises were planned, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that they are huge – the entire Black Sea Fleet, almost 70 warships, is involved. This comes after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg criticized Russia for violating the territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine and building up its forces in Crimea and the Black Sea, and said NATO was responding by beefing up its own forces. Moscow replied with a vow to respond to whatever NATO did in the Black Sea. It’s worth noting that a day before Stoltenberg’s remarks, the naval attache at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv visited Ukraine’s main naval base, in Odessa, and on Wednesday the U.S. 6th Fleet […]

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