Submarine 'Rostov-on-Don' was launched in July 2014 for Russia's Black Sea Fleet (photo:dpa)

Russia contests Nato's Black Sea strength

Russia’s seizure of Crimea will have a formative influence on security arrangements in the wider region, from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. A few years ago Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was in a sorry state. All has changed with Russia’s ambitious US$600 billion programme for rearmament followed by pledges to Crimea of massive investment in upgrading port facilities and infrastructure. Nato can no longer count on ruling the waves of the Black Sea, or being uncontested in the Mediterranean.

RUSSIA’S lightning operation to seize and annex Crimea was a game changer. The trigger was a fear that a pro-Western government in Kiev would seek Nato membership for Ukraine.

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Professor Stefan Hedlund
The Kremlin feared Nato taking control of the naval base at Sevastopol, which would have meant an effective end to the Russian Black Sea Fleet
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