Russian militarization of Crimea through the eyes of analysts
NATO expresses concern about Moscow’s actions in the Black Sea
Russia will remain the main military threat to the North Atlantic Alliance, at least for the next decade – despite the fact that in all economic and social parameters the Russian Federation is «a withering power». This conclusion is contained in the report released the other day. «NATO 2030», on the reorganization of the alliance.
The document was prepared by a group of experts from different NATO countries chaired by former German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière and former US Deputy Secretary of State Wess Mitchell. Multi-page survey mentions Russia 101 times, China – 104.
At the same time, the alliance recognizes the need to maintain a bilateral approach to Russia, which consists of «in containment and dialogue».
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, following an online meeting of foreign ministers of the alliance member states, expressed particular concern about the strengthening of Russian military power in Crimea and the Black Sea. According to him, due to the actions of Russia, NATO has to intensify its presence in the region. «on land, sea and air».
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who participated in the ministerial meeting, reaffirmed the country’s commitment to the interests of the alliance and noted the important role of NATO in ensuring peace.
Moscow claims that Russia’s actions in Crimea and the Black Sea region are aimed solely at protecting its own security.
Alexander Golts: Crimea has become an option “unsinkable aircraft carrier”
Independent military analyst Alexander Golts in an interview with the Russian service «Voices of America» notes that the build-up of the Russian military presence on the peninsula began immediately from the moment of its annexation. Since then, the militarization of the peninsula has increased markedly, says Goltz..
«Now a full-fledged army corps, coast guard brigades equipped with missile systems with a range of up to 600 kilometers, a mixed aviation division, an air defense division and fleet forces are deployed there., – explains the Russian analyst. – Crimea has really become a kind of option “unsinkable aircraft carrier”.
«The logic of the Russian military strengthening is clear: no one recognized the annexation of the peninsula, which means that there is always a danger that attempts will be made to return it by military means.», – Goltz asserts.
Speaking about the situation resulting from the Russian annexation of Crimea and other aggressive actions of Moscow against Ukraine, Golts states: «The patrolling of the ships of the North Atlantic Alliance in the Black Sea has become almost constant, and this applies not only to the ships of the Black Sea countries of NATO, but also to other member states of the alliance, in particular the United States and Great Britain. Dangerous rapprochements of both the ships and aircraft of Russia and NATO take place on a regular basis. And any such rapprochement could end in a dangerous incident that could lead to even greater tension in the region, and in general it is fraught with unpredictable consequences.».
According to Golts, the Russian annexation of Crimea is explained by ideological considerations, and to a much lesser extent – the military. «Although in Moscow they were hiding behind just far-fetched assumptions that not today or tomorrow, de, a military base in Sevastopol will appear in the Crimea, and so on, – specifies the expert. – These statements were not supported by any facts.».
It is safe to say that if as the goal of annexing the peninsula to the Russian Federation was declared the desire to reduce the level of military danger in relation to Russia, then in reality everything happened exactly the opposite, says Alexander Golts.
Pavel Felgenhauer: «Crimea – it’s a fist aimed at the Bosphorus»
Military observer «Nezavisimaya Gazeta» Pavel Felgenhauer notes that NATO’s statement on the militarization of Crimea by Russia, – simply a statement of fact.
And so it is, Felgenhauer continues: «It all started in 2014 and went on increasing. There is nothing surprising in that. Southwest direction – one of the most important from the point of view of our strategists. Crimea – fist aimed at the Bosphorus. This has been said more than once by the Russian military, including (Valery) Gerasimov (Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces – V.V.), proud of the fact that there are missiles there that will sink NATO ships when they are still in the Bosphorus Strait».
A very powerful military group is concentrated in Crimea, which cannot be compared with what it was before, even in Soviet times, says Felgenhauer. «Earlier, – he clarifies, – Ukrainians limited the capabilities of the Black Sea Fleet on the peninsula. And now there is a whole corps, which is formally called the coastal defense corps, but in reality it also includes quite powerful armored forces. Also, a network of air bases has been built, where you can always transfer reserves, deployed various missiles and much more. At the same time, there are other opportunities for strengthening. Therefore, Russia has officially announced that Crimea has become invulnerable to any attack.».
The Black Sea direction is the most important for Moscow also because Sochi, in fact, became the second capital of Russia, since Putin spends six months there and runs the country from there, the expert notes.. «Consequently, – he summarizes, – Covering his residence in Bocharov Ruchei is just as important as covering the Kremlin. No wonder that trillions of rubles have been spent to fend off such threats.».