What can Russia do in the Black Sea in response to Sea Breeze
Mykhailo Pashkov, Co-Director of Foreign Relations and International Security Programmes at the Razumkov Centre, told “DS” how Russia imagines concern for its security in the Black Sea.
“DS”: International Sea Breeze exercises have just begun, but Russia has already reacted nervously to them, imitating attacks on the Dutch frigate Evertsen in the neutral waters of the Black Sea. Will the Kremlin continue its provocations at any opportunity?
M.P.: It can be said that in this way Russia continues the tactics of force testing the defense capabilities of NATO countries, which it has used before. NATO’s annual reports show an increase in incidents both in the air and at sea. This is an absolutely obvious and understandable tactic of blackmail and pressure from the Russian side. It is now manifested in more vivid, demonstrative forms associated with the alleged defense of Russia’s non-existent state borders in the Black Sea near Crimea.
For the Russian side, this escalation of tensions is a continuation of its policy toward the collective West. Here are a few points. First, it is force testing, determining the red lines where it will go, for which the West will not be able to cross. Secondly, this is the Kremlin’s standard philosophy – to show the domestic consumer that Russia is a fortress under siege, defending against enemies.