CRIMEA – NATO plans to increase its presence in the Black Sea by sending more warships and spy planes to contain the so-called “Russian aggression”. Meanwhile, Russia is monitoring the situation in the region and, if necessary, it can take the necessary measures.
Earlier, US ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said that with the increased presence of the alliance in the Black Sea, it will be possible to ensure that there is a safe passage for Ukrainian vessels through the Kerch Strait to the Sea of Azov. However, according to analysts, the security of Ukraine is only a pretext. Indeed, the US is once again engaging NATO in provocations to achieve its own goals.
“All this, in the first place, aims to contain the rapprochement of Russia and Turkey,” Leonid Ivashov, president of the Russian Academy of Geopolitical Problems, said. “The increase in activity in the Black Sea is an attempt to prevent cooperation between Moscow and Ankara and to suspend or even terminate the TurkStream (Turkish Current) gas pipeline project to transport natural gas from Russia to Turkey and several countries through an underwater conduct in the Black Sea. If the gas pipeline is not implemented, this will affect Russia and the EU, which buys Russian gas, but it will benefit the US.”
Professor of the Academy of Military Sciences, Sergei Sudakov, is also of the opinion that Washington wants to carry out another provocation for Russia to give a hard answer.
“If we let them enter our territorial waters, we will show weakness,” he said, stressing that Russia has everything to give a tougher response: missile systems, fast ships and modern aircraft.
Russia’s main outpost on the Black Sea, Crimea, is practically the most protected region in the country. The multi-branch force group of the Armed Forces installed in the Crimea includes everything necessary to repel an attack or at least resist until the arrival of reinforcements.
The Black Sea Fleet has a missile cruiser (currently under modernization), six patrol vessels (three of them are from project 11356, equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles), seven heavy landing craft, seven lightning vessels equipped with missiles, six submarines of the 636.3 Varshavyanka project, three anti-submarine ships, as well as different support ships.
The Black Sea Fleet is expected to receive by 2021 another sixteen 22800 Karakurt ships, equipped with cruise missiles.
From the air, Russian territorial waters are protected by aviation. A regiment equipped with Su-24MR reconnaissance aircraft and Su-30SM multi-purpose fighters is positioned at Novofedorovka aerodrome. At the Katcha airfield a regiment is installed with Be-12 antisubmarine amphibious aircraft, Na-26 transport aircraft and Ka-27 helicopters.
In addition, Crimea has an anti-aircraft defense division that can be equipped with S-400 anti-missile systems. Some facilities in the territory are protected by Pantsir-S1 air defense systems.
“If NATO decided to significantly increase its forces in the Black Sea, this group could easily be strengthened,” military specialist Konstantin Sivkov said.
After the start of the crisis in Eastern Ukraine and the reunification of the Crimea to Russia, US Navy ships and other NATO countries increased their presence in the Black Sea.
For example, two weeks ago, the Dutch destroyer Evertsen, the Canadian frigate Toronto and the Spanish frigate Santa Maria, accompanied by the Turkish Navy frigate Yildirim, entered the Black Sea.
In February, the American destroyer USS Donald Cook entered these waters and, two weeks later, sailed to the Mediterranean, sailing very close to the Russian frigate Admiral Essen on the Bosphorus.
Western spy planes also often carry out surveillance actions near the Crimea. Last week, a US Navy Aries electronic reconnaissance aircraft EP-3E carried out surveillance actions for several hours near the Kerch Strait and neighboring region of Krasnodar.
The Black Sea Fleet closely follows the maneuvers of military aviation and combat ships from other countries near Russian borders. Sailors regularly train operations of detection, escort and elimination of targets from the conventional enemy. For example, last week Black Sea Fleet ships launched missile launches against sea targets 30 nautical miles (about 56 km) away.