NATO aims at strengthening presence in the Black Sea
BRUSSELSDefense ministers discussed strengthening NATO’s presence in the Black Sea region on land as well as in the air and at sea, the alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, told reporters after the first day of the NATO Defense Ministers Meeting in Brussels on Oct. 26.
“Today we also discussed progress in strengthening NATO’s presence in the Black Sea region with a Romanian-led multinational framework brigade on land,” he added.
“And we are working on measures in the air and at sea. And I’m pleased to confirm that several nations indicated their willingness to contribute to our presence in the Black Sea region, on land, at sea and in the air, including Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United States.”
NATO is worried about Russia’s growing presence not only in the Black Sea but also in the Baltic Sea and Eastern Europe. “We are concerned about Russia’s behavior. But dialogue is even more important when tensions run high,” he said. “And allies stand ready to hold an ambassadorial meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in the near future.”
Stoltenberg stated NATO was progressing in building up the battalions being deployed in its Eastern European allies, severely rattled by an increasingly assertive Russia.
“I am actually very inspired by the meeting today because so many nations made very, very firm and concrete decisions and announcements of their contributions to the four battalions,” Stoltenberg said, adding that such commitments were “a transatlantic demonstration of rock solid support for our allies.”
NATO leaders endorsed plans at their Warsaw summit in July to rotate troops into the three Baltic states and Poland, to reassure them they would not be left in the lurch if Russia was tempted to repeat its Ukraine intervention.