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NATO Should Consider 'More Persistent' Presence in Black Sea

© AFP 2021 / DANIEL MIHAILESCUWar ships of the NATO Standing Maritime Group-2 take part in a military drill on the Black Sea, 60km from Constanta city March 16, 2015
War ships of the NATO Standing Maritime Group-2 take part in a military drill on the Black Sea, 60km from Constanta city March 16, 2015 - Sputnik International
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Cooperation between the NATO member states from the Black Sea region, comprising Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, with the US assistance will be "key to the security challenges," according to NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow.

Romanian frigate Regina Maria personnel with the NATO Standing Maritime Group-2 keep watch during a military drill on the Black Sea, 60km from Constanta city March 16, 2015 - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — NATO should consider a "more persistent" military presence in the Black Sea region, focusing on maritime capabilities, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said Friday.

"We need to consider a more persistent NATO military presence in the [Black Sea] region – with a particular focus on our maritime capabilities – a presence which is robust, certainly, but also defensive in posture, non-permanent, and in compliance with the Montreux Convention, which regulates and limits the transit of non-Black Sea state warships through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles," Vershbow said, as quoted in the speech published on NATO website.

He added that the alliance had already implemented a number of assurance measures in the region, such as intensification of NATO maritime patrols in the Black Sea, surveillance flights of AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) in the region and presence of the US Marine Corps Black Sea Rotational Force in Romania.

War ships of  NATO take part in a military drill on the Black Sea - Sputnik International
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According to Vershbow, cooperation between the NATO member states from the Black Sea region, comprising Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, with the US assistance will be "key to the security challenges."

NATO has been increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea since the outbreak of the conflict in southeastern Ukraine in April 2014, in response to what it considers Russia's aggressive foreign policy.

Moscow has repeatedly dismissed the Ukraine-related accusations leveled at it, warning that increased NATO activities near the country's borders could undermine regional and global stability.

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