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The U.S. 6th Fleet command ship USS Mount Whitney participates in a passing exercise with vessels from the Georgian coast guard while transiting the Black Sea, Oct. 18, 2014 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mike Wright).

After Ukraine, Black Sea Becomes Contested Zone for Russia, NATO

Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014

Russia’s actions in Ukraine have radically altered the European security equation, with the Black Sea region becoming an acutely contested zone between Russia and NATO. The juxtaposition of NATO members Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey as Black Sea littoral states alongside Russia and Ukraine creates an inherently explosive mix.

Regional tensions are likely to increase before they dampen down. For example, the United States is establishing a missile defense base in Romania in 2015, while Russia is planning a major increase in the capacity of its Black Sea Fleet, Moscow’s main means of projecting maritime power into the Mediterranean. Yet while the dynamics of the region have changed dramatically, its governing conventions, such as the Montreux Convention, have remained virtually unchanged since the Cold War. The strains between these archaic regional security institutions and actual developments on the ground are becoming increasingly apparent. ...

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