Russian fleet raises Black Sea tensions for NATO

Friday, June 16, 2017

Subject

The increasing activity and reach of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Significance

Last month’s cruise missile strikes against targets in Syria from a Russian frigate and a submarine have highlighted the more prominent role being played by Russia’s Black Sea Fleet (BSF). The BSF has emerged as a primary means for Moscow to extend its reach and show its presence in and around the Black Sea and Mediterranean, demonstrating to NATO and others the growing long-range capabilities of the Russian military.

Impacts

  • Maritime security in the Mediterranean may take on the additional character of hard power competition, given increased BSF activity.
  • This will add to an already complicated and turbulent situation in a region already burdened by migrant flows and the threat of terrorism.
  • NATO is likely to revise its 2011 maritime strategy to focus more on defence and deterrence, and less on ‘soft’ maritime security tasks.
  • The US European Reassurance Initiative is likely to have larger air and maritime components and a more visible US presence in the Black Sea.
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