The Real and Projected Strategic Dimension of the Russian Black Sea Fleet

(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Since its annexation of Crimea, Russia has not deviated from its coercive military behavior, displaying its military might again and again. The substance of its military exercises, however, appears to have evolved. Last October, the Grom-2019 military training simulated Russian involvement in a global nuclear war and resurrected the “nuclear card” in Russian military rhetoric. This year’s January Black Sea exercises support the argument; recall the press release from the Kremlin at the time: “Supreme Commander in Chief of the Russian Armed Forces Vladimir Putin observed… in the Black Sea… various missiles were fired… including Kalibr cruise missiles and the Kinzhal (Dagger) hypersonic air-launched ballistic missile.” These types of weapons are dual-capable (conventional and nuclear).

Considering Russia’s breadth of regular military training, what is the nuclear component in its Black Sea regional strategy? As the largest nuclear power, Russia holds routine drills. However, the quandary is that it brings back the “escalation for de-escalation” principle (usually disavowed by Moscow) and partially erases the substantial accent that Russia has been placing on its conventional deterrence. Of primary concern are the recent—since 2015—references to possible nuclear weapon deployment in the Black Sea region, which surrounds Crimea near the heart of Europe. Most of the weapons deployed in Crimea are dual-use, which, considering the normative de-escalatory mission of tactical nuclear weapons, may turn the Black Sea into one of the key points in a potential conflict. It is well known that after taking Crimea from Ukraine, Russia turned the peninsula into a “bastion of Russian glory,” a hub for power projection as one of the most militarized areas in the wider region.

Συνέχεια ανάγνωσης εδώ


Σχετικά Άρθρα