NATO strategy for security in the Black Sea region

The Black Sea region is a crossroads, an intersection between Europe and the Middle East, from the eastern Balkans to the South Caucasus. Like many such points of intersection, it is often a friction point. This is very much the case in the current geopolitical environment of growing confrontation between Russia and the West. Any friction there will almost certainly involve NATO nations and the Alliance’s interests, with three NATO states on the Black Sea and several NATO partners on the Black Sea and throughout the region.


Maintaining a dominant role in the Black Sea region forms an important element of Russian strategy; however, Western policymakers have been deficient in giving strategic attention to the Black Sea region in recent years. That may be changing. In addition to emphasizing collective defense and deterrence, the final communiqué of the NATO Warsaw Summit highlighted the importance of the Black Sea region: “We condemn Russia’s ongoing and wide-ranging military build-up in Crimea, and are concerned by Russia’s efforts and stated plans for further military build-up in the Black Sea region.”1


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