Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia has been steadily turning the peninsula into a heavily militarized outpost, thus altering the security balance in the region.
Moscow has increased the number of its military personnel in Crimea almost threefold, boosted the air and naval capabilities, and it is restoring the peninsula’s Soviet-era nuclear facilities to project escalatory dominance across the Black Sea and beyond, all the way to the Eastern Mediterranean.
The recent unprecedented additional military buildup around Ukraine’s eastern and southern borders demonstrates how precarious the security situation in the region is.
Russia’s unilateral closure of the Kerch Strait until October 2021 blocks access to the Sea of Azov for all Ukrainian non-commercial and military vessels, and creates a potential additional flash point.
Panellists also offer possible solutions for strengthening Black Sea security and discuss opportunities for NATO, the EU and the new US administration to deter Russia and boost Ukraine’s maritime defences.
Alina Frolova, Deputy Chair, Centre for Defence Strategy; Deputy Minister of Defence of Ukraine (2019-2020)
Stephen J. Blank, Senior Fellow, Eurasia Program, Foreign Policy Research Institute