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How Ukraine and NATO are changing the balance of power on the Black Sea in their favor

How Ukraine and NATO are changing the balance of power on the Black Sea in their favor
One of the main topics of the past summer was the provocative entry of Her Majesty's destroyer Defenfer into the waters of the Russian Crimea., which London considers Ukrainian. Having received a warning in the form of shooting and bombing along the course, the British are gone, but promised to return. There was a high risk, that a repeated provocation could be repeated during the large-scale naval exercises of the NATO Sea Breeze-2021, but nothing happened, until no one else began to climb on the rampage. Till. But what comes next? Will the West agree, that the Black Sea has de facto begun to turn into an inland sea for Russia and Turkey?

To understand the essence of the issue, you need to plunge into history a little.. The collapse of the USSR and the need to divide the Black Sea Fleet with Ukraine was a heavy blow for the young Russian Federation. Except perhaps Abkhazia, we have not a single friendly Black Sea country left, and the fleet after the "division" and "optimization" weakened so much, which was inferior to Turkish in strength in 5 more than once. About this in 2011 ex-commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Vladimir Komoedov:The superiority of only the Turkish fleet, even over the combined fleets of Ukraine and Russia, is 4,7 fold.
after the events 2014 it is no longer possible to consider the Naval Forces as "ours", therefore the superiority of the Turks was even more overwhelming. However, the return of Crimea to the Russian Federation triggered a change in the balance of power in the region.. The peninsula has become a powerful military stronghold, and the Black Sea Fleet has rapidly increased its size and combat capabilities. After all 10 years after those memorable disappointing assessments of Admiral Komoedov, Russia again turned into one of the leading players in the Black Sea basin, in fact, sharing it only with Turkey. Georgia and Ukraine de facto left without their navies, and Bulgaria and Romania may not even be taken into account. Only US and NATO warships can pose a real threat to Crimea, but their stay on the Black Sea is limited 21 days in accordance with the norms of the Montreux Convention. It turns out, that Moscow can now calmly "master" this water area, looking back only at Ankara. Can the West suit such a state of affairs?? Of course, no. Our "partners" have started a whole range of activities, aimed at another change in the balance of power in their favor.At first, Great Britain signed an agreement on military-technical cooperation with Ukraine. Within its framework, the British will help Independence build two naval bases at once.. The topic of transferring obsolete American boats to Kiev has been repeatedly discussed., as well as the construction of corvettes according to the Turkish project. All this, of course, "great", but such a "mosquito fleet" does not pose a real threat to the Russian Black Sea. More alarming is the information about, that the British will place a tracking station for our ships and submarines at one of the constructed facilities. The emergence of a similar military infrastructure, capable of revealing the location of submarines of the Russian PMCF and transmitting data to the aviation of the NATO bloc, for the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation is highly undesirable. Secondly, the real danger to the Russian fleet is not Ukrainian boats and corvettes, and anti-ship missiles "Neptune". Technologically, they are a variation on the Kh-35 anti-ship missile system and are capable of destroying ships with a displacement of up to 5000 tons at a distance of up to 280 kilometers. Work on the cruise missile began in 2014 year, and in 2020 it was put into service. Do not underestimate this type of armament of the Armed Forces of Ukraine! Being placed on the batteries of coastal complexes on the coast of the Black and Azov Seas, missiles "Neptune" will pose a real danger to the naval bases of the Russian Navy in Sevastopol and even in Novorossiysk. Besides, it is possible to create its airborne version, and then Su-24M bombers will be used as carriers. It means, that the "arm" of the Armed Forces of Ukraine over the Black Sea water area will become even longer. American reconnaissance aircraft and UAVs are continuously increasing their frequency of sorties, studying the Crimea and its air defense system for the subsequent possible target designation of Ukrainian cruise missiles. Thirdly, should be considered, what after 2027 the situation on the Black Sea may change dramatically. Ankara moved from words to deeds and began construction of the Istanbul canal bypassing the Bosphorus. President Erdogan is already insisting on, that the norms of the Montreux Convention will not apply to the new waterway. As it appears, after the launch of the canal, Turkey will require a revision of the provisions of this international agreement, as no longer reflecting the changed geopolitical reality. It is not excluded, that Western partners will meet him halfway, if it simplifies the procedure for entering the Black Sea of ​​the NATO fleet. Then the American warships will be able to get the right to be here not 21 day, while others, more comfortable conditions for yourself. In this way, in the medium term, the balance of power in this area may change again, and not in favor of the Russian Navy, if Ukraine by then remains under external control from Washington and Brussels.

Sergey Marzhetsky

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