U.S. and NATO Ramping Up Confrontation with Russia in the Black Sea
Nov. 5, 2021 (EIRNS)—The U.S. Sixth Fleet announced on Twitter yesterday that the USS Mount Whitney, its flagship, had entered the Black Sea for joint exercises with NATO members. TASS reported, that Russia’s “Black Sea Fleet has begun monitoring the actions of the U.S. Navy ship Mount Whitney, which entered the Black Sea on Nov. 4,” the Russian National Defense Control Center said.
Meanwhile, both Romania and Ukraine are demanding that the U.S. increase its military presence in the Black Sea region. According to a report in Defense News, the ambassadors in Washington of both countries sent letters to the U.S. Senate’s Europe and Regional Security Cooperation subcommittee ahead of a hearing it held last week on the Black Sea. “ ‘Russia has established the large anti-access/area-denial (A2AD) exclusion zone on [the Black Sea]‚’ Ukraine’s envoy Oksana Markarova wrote in her Oct. 29 letter, adding that Moscow uses the area as a springboard for its Syria operations. ‘NATO’s ability to defend its member-states and provide possible assistance to the third countries (Ukraine and Georgia) has been severely undermined,’ ” wrote Joe Gould in Defense News yesterday. To respond to Russia’s alleged aggression in the region, Markarova demanded that NATO expand its rotating naval presence “to support the freedom of navigation and facilitate trade routes.”
Romanian Ambassador to Washington Andrei Muraru stated that Bucharest is already spending $3 billion at its Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in order to host a larger NATO military presence than the rotational presence it hosts now. “Credible deterrence can be assured only through solid presence,” Muraru wrote in an Oct. 26 letter to the Senate subcommittee. “Increasing U.S. military presence in Romania in all domains—land, air, and sea—including a U.S. command and control structure.”
“Securing the NATO Eastern Flank in a unitary and coherent manner from the Baltic to the Black Sea, by implementing a single Forward Presence along the entire Flank that ensures stronger defense and reduces current vulnerabilities caused by the undeniable deterrence gap for the Black Sea region,” Muraru’s letter continued. Romania also reiterated its support for Georgia and Ukraine’s goal to join NATO, which Russia strongly opposes.
At the Pentagon, spokesman John Kirby had nothing new to say about Russia’s alleged military buildup along Ukraine’s border, telling reporters yesterday only that “we are watching this and monitoring it closely. We—as we’ve said before, we certainly would appreciate Russia being more clear about what their intentions are here.”