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Russia deployed forces of considerable size on the Crimean peninsula that create a threat to NATO infrastructure, says the new report prepared by the US analytical center RAND Corporation on Russia’s deterrence strategy in the Black Sea.
The analysts of the American think tank that advises the US Armed Forces are sure that the Black Sea gradually becomes the battlefield between Russia and the West due to geopolitical influence in Europe.
A restricted access zone
With its presence, Moscow is trying to seize the Black and Azov seas , according to the entity, and convert them into their own maritime areas. To achieve this, the Eurasian country deployed its missile systems in Crimea, which are protected by the S-400 Triumf . To them were added early warning radars and modern systems of radioelectronic control.
Analysts recall that the Black Sea Fleet was completed with six corvettes, six submarines of the 636 project and three frigates of the 11356 project: Admiral Makarov, Admiral Essen and Admiral Grigorovich . These last three ships carry Kalibr cruise missiles, capable of annihilating targets scattered throughout the Black Sea.
In RAND they consider that all these resources allow the Kremlin to create the so-called limited access zone in the region. In it, NATO forces would suffer sufficiently high losses if they were involved in a naval conflict.
Although Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly reiterated that Russia does not threaten anyone, US experts propose to deploy modern air defense systems in Romania and Bulgaria to expand the area where NATO ships could freely conduct your exercises Another proposal involves helping Ukraine and Georgia develop their defense potential.
NATO in the Black Sea
However, journalist Andrei Kots proposes to take a look at the problems addressed in the report of the American think tank from another point of view.
“After taking into account the recent statements of the NATO representatives and the last exercises held in the region, it is not difficult to understand that it is not Russia that increases the tension in the Black Sea, but NATO,” Kots points out in his Article for Sputnik.
The US ambassador to the Atlantic Alliance, Kay Bailey Hutchison , reported in April 2019 that Washington has developed a package of measures aimed at supporting the monitoring and deployment of NATO ships in the Black Sea. According to the diplomat, these measures will guarantee “safe transit” of Ukrainian ships through the Kerch Strait.
In July 2019, 32 ships, 24 planes and more than 900 sailors from almost 20 countries participated in the international Sea Breeze exercises held in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. As if that were not enough, in that same month the Atlantic Alliance organized another large-scale maneuver in Georgia that was baptized as Agile Spirit .
In the Council of the Russian Federation – the Upper House of Parliament – these trainings were described as demonstrating strength and NATO’s attempt to highlight its presence near the western and southern borders of Russia. In turn, Georgia became a NATO mechanism that allows it to influence Moscow, consider the institution.
“A sanitary cord”
The commander of the US Army for Europe, Lieutenant General Christopher Cavoli , said that by 2020 NATO plans to hold the third largest military exercises since the Cold War. These maneuvers will test the ability of the bloc to move and deploy forces in ports in Europe and in operational areas located in Germany, Poland, Georgia and the Baltic and Eastern European states, he reported the military in an interview to the portal Defense News
There is nothing surprising in these NATO plans, says Konstantín Blojin, principal scientific collaborator of the Center for Investigation of Security Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The expert stressed that the US has for some time sought to create a sanitary cordon that would include states that have unfriendly relations with Russia.
“In Washington they understand that it will be difficult for them to compete with Russia in the Black Sea. That is why they try to make Moscow get used to having US ships enter their maritime space,” the political scientist said in an interview with Sputnik.
Blojin believes that to achieve this goal the US could organize different provocations in the Black Sea using countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine.
“For Washington, the Black Sea is just another hot spot where it could cause Russia to take risky steps. The latest incidents in the Kerch Strait support this hypothesis,” he concluded.
On November 25, 2018, three ships of the Ukrainian Navy violated the Russian border by entering a provisionally closed area of the Black Sea and moving towards the Kerch Strait, linking the Black and Azov seas. Ukrainian vessels made these dangerous maneuvers and turned a deaf ear to the demand of Russian security forces to stop. As a result, these ships were stopped along with their 24 crew. Three Ukrainian sailors were slightly injured.
Source: Mundo Sputnik News