Crimea is not the end of the black sea ambitions of Russia, Admiral U.S. retired James Stavridis

The former commander of the United armed forces of NATO in Europe, James Stavridis notes that we should not forget that in addition to the occupation of Ukrainian territory, Russia at the time also occupied the territory of another close ally of the NATO – Georgia.
About Stavridis wrote in an article entitled “the Crimea is not the end of the black sea ambitions”, published in Bloomberg, reports “Voice of America”.
Crimea, says Stavridis, who became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic in 1954, remains the center of tension between Russia and the West-NATO. Russia annexed the Crimea, controls a large part of South-Eastern Ukraine with the help of their puppets and often speculates about the next annexation to create a “land bridge” between it and the Crimea.
From the point of view of geopolitics, the Northern coast of Turkey, is extremely important Straits separating the Aegean and Black seas and the coastline of several other NATO allies – are all under pressure from the Russian naval activities, most of which is from Sevastopol, the article says.
As soon as the Russians will strengthen control over the bases on the Syrian coast, they will have extraordinary naval influence throughout the region, and will be the challenge for NATO, explains Stavridis.
It is not only in geopolitics, the author writes: “There are significant economic incentives for Russia to challenge NATO and Alliance partners. Russia desperately wants to have the ability to control the Black sea economic terms in peacetime while remaining ready to dominate the region in case of conflict with the West.”
So, what to do for NATO to deter Russia’s intentions in this critically important “South sea”? Stavridis outlines a number of recommendations, proposing first of all to consider the Black sea as a “strategic focus area”.
The author believes that the Alliance should expand its program of visiting ports, conducting exercises and training missions. It means more to visit ports in Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria and Georgia and occupied part of Ukraine.
Also, NATO should develop a programme of action for emergency situations for naval operations in the Black sea. USA, in particular, need to increase the amount of troop deployment, apart from NATO operations. They must often visit the Black sea.
The U.S., says Stavridis, needs to work more closely with Turkey, which effectively has “the keys of the Black sea through control of the Straits guarding him”.
Finally, the U.S. can encourage Western companies to invest in Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine. The main objectives are oil and gas, but also logistics, fiber optic cables, and other development in the area of communications, –says the author.
According to Stavridis, the economic interdependence serves as “a kind of soft power which can contribute to stability in the region.”
NATO is still much important work in the Black sea.
“Stronger strategic cooperation and economic ties offer the best chance of success in the struggle against the ambitions of Russia in this most strategic of all the South sea,” says James Stavridis.

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