NATO, Russia and the Black Sea

July 11, 2018

Second Line of Defense:

At NATO’s summit, the heads of state will discuss security in and around the Black Sea. No subject could be timelier for Russian threats and the capabilities needed to realize them are steadily growing.

Indeed, Moscow’s activities in and around the Black Sea appear to be part of a broader military strategy that has a substantial naval component that must be understood in that context.

Although the Navy is receiving the least spending of any Russian serviced through 2025 programs now in force demonstrate Moscow’s intention of striking at allied navies or restricting their access to critical waterways possessing significance for European security.

The first step was the conversion of the Black Sea into a Mare Clausus (closed sea) after 2014. Since 2014 a sustained and unceasing buildup of Russian forces air, land, and maritime forces in Crimea and the Black Sea has gone far towards creating a layered A2AD (anti-access and area denial) zone in that sea although NATO has begun to react to the threat and exercise forces there.

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