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Romania, Ukraine say more troops are needed in the Black Sea

Washington- Ukraine When Romania According to a letter obtained by Defense News, Western allies want to strengthen their military presence in the Black Sea.

Their overlapping warnings that the Russian attack and the deployment of missile systems on the Crimean Peninsula threatened allies more widely were sent by national ambassadors prior to the European and Regional Security Cooperation Subcommittees of the U.S. Senate. .. Black Sea hearing last week.

“Russia has a large ban / area denial (A2AD) exclusion zone [the Black Sea], ”Ukrainian envoy, Oksana MarukarowaAdded in her October 29 letter that Moscow is using the area as a springboard for Syrian operations. “NATO’s ability to defend member states and provide possible support to third countries (Ukraine and Georgia) is severely undermined.”

“The progress of militarization of the Crimean Peninsula is not limited to the Black Sea countries on the coast. [the] A much larger area, “the ambassador wrote, adding that. NATO We need to elaborate on a joint response plan in the event of Russia’s armed attack on the Black Sea.

last month, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visits NATO allies Romania and alliance volunteers Ukraine and Georgia are part of a tour that reassures allies and encourages them to work together in the Black Sea. Austin also during the trip that ended at NATO’s Brussels headquarters NATO Secretary General Jason Stoltenberg Announced plans for increased power in the Black Sea.

“There is no change in our operational capabilities or deterrence,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Anton Semerlos said Thursday. “We are regularly active in the Black Sea and many other regions throughout the region, all part of NATO’s ongoing commitment and peace of mind to its allies and partners.”

The conversation takes place when tensions between Moscow and the West sank to post-Cold War lows. After Russia merged Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, it supported separatist rebellions and other stimuli in eastern Ukraine.

Romania said it has already spent $ 3 billion on its expansion, in addition to ongoing economic and diplomatic efforts. Mikhail Kogarnis Anu Air Force Base Nine times with the goal of hosting an expanded US and ally presence.

Its primary recommendation is for allies to develop a comprehensive Black Sea strategy, but item 2 recommends Romania as an increase in joint exercises, pre-deployed military equipment, and a hub for new troops. Currently, NATO’s coordinated and positive presence in the region consists solely of Romanian headquarters elements.

“Reliable deterrence is only guaranteed by a strong presence,” read the October 26 letter from Romanian envoy Andrey Mural. “We are increasing the presence of the US military in Romania in all areas of land, air and sea, including the US command and control structure.”

“By securing NATO Eastern Frank in a single and coherent way from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, we implement a single forward presence along the entire Frank, ensuring stronger defenses and the Black Sea region undeniable. It reduces the current vulnerabilities caused by the deterrence gap. ”The letter continued.

Romania also reiterated its support for Georgia and Ukraine’s goal of joining NATO, which Russia strongly opposes.

Beyond United States helping Ukraine continue to rebuild its marinesKiev wants Washington’s support for NATO’s presence in the Black Sea as well as NATO’s positive presence in the Baltic Sea. NATO maintains four multinational battalion-scale battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Another Ukrainian recommendation is to “strengthen NATO’s rotating navy presence in the Black Sea, support freedom of navigation and promote trade routes.”

The complex politics and history of the region makes it difficult to develop a regional or NATO-led approach, but some experts say that Russia’s enhanced military operations will come to life if the United States takes the lead. I believe it can help.Turkey, a NATO ally that controls the Black Sea, has historically been I’m reluctant It shares a close but complex relationship with Moscow towards its western military presence.

At a hearing in the Black Sea last week, Ian BrzezinskyAssistant Secretary of Defense of Europe under George W. Bush Administration and former Deputy Secretary of Defense of NATO Policy suggest that the United States be creative and form a regional coalition if Turkey initially resists. bottom.

“Get up and prove its value. The next thing you know is that a country like Turkey knocks on the door and says,’How can I be part of it?’ And that’s how it suddenly becomes a NATO organization, “he said.

Among experts who testified in support of the Western-led Black Sea strategy and military presence, Bruzezinski said his presence included intelligence fusion cells, coastal forces, and the Army backed by the U.S. Brigade Combat Teams in Romania and Bulgaria. Suggested that there is a possibility.

The Kremlin, on the other hand, is frustrated by other western actions in the Black Sea.

when Russian President Vladimir Putin On November 1, he emphasized the need to strengthen the country’s air defenses and pointed out NATO’s military operations near the Russian border. This included the deployment of NATO’s US-led missile defense components in Eastern Europe and increasingly frequent missions by NATO vessels near the Russian waters of the Baltic and Black Seas.

“As major countries are developing future high-speed attack weapons, we need to further improve our aerospace defense system,” Putin said in a meeting with Russian military leaders in Sochi. “It is also warranted by military and political conditions, including increasingly intensive flights by NATO aircraft near Russia and the emergence of allied warships armed with guided missiles in the Baltic and Black Seas.”

Russia recently suspended its mission at NATO and ordered the closure of its Moscow alliance office after NATO withdrew its recognition of eight Russian officials at NATO headquarters. The US and other NATO vessels deployed near the waters claim to be another source of tension in their own right.

“U.S. warships are still invading the Black Sea and can be seen through the binoculars and crosshairs of the defense system,” Putin clearly mentions the deployment of the US destroyer Porter, which sailed into the Black Sea. This week, Mount Whitney, the flagship of the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet, has joined.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Joe Gould is Defense News’ Parliamentary and Industry Reporter, covering budget and policy issues in the Houses of Parliament, and industry news.

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