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Crimean Frontier: Reasons Behind Russia Boosting Black Sea Defense Capacities

© Sputnik / Igor Rudenko / Go to the photo bankRussian servicemen during the Command Post exercise of the Airborne Force at the Opuk base in Crimea.
Russian servicemen during the Command Post exercise of the Airborne Force at the Opuk base in Crimea. - Sputnik International
The Russian Black Sea fleet conducted missile-firing drills in Crimea. According to military expert Konstantin Sivkov, the regions of the Black Sea is of strategic importance for Russia's national security.

The Russian Navy guided missile corvette Samum sets sail - Sputnik International
Russia's Black Sea Fleet Ships Holding Missile-Firing Drills in Crimea
Black Sea Fleet spokesman Vyacheslav Trukhachyov said the exercise was aimed at confirming troops’ readiness to "perform missions at sea by a single ship."

"In accordance with the combat training plan, missile ships and boats of the Black Sea Fleet have started to implement the 'course task,' during which the crews are confirming their readiness to perform missions at  the sea by a single ship," Trukhachyov said.

In accordance with the plan, troops practiced firing from air-defense missiles and artillery systems.

The maneuvers involved the Samum hover-borne guided missile corvette, small missile ship Mirazh and missile boat R-239. In addition, Su-24M attack jets and Be-200 amphibious aircraft were involved in separate parts of the drills.

Aerospace Defence Forces tactical drill with combat firing - Sputnik International
Russian Airborne Forces Launch Drills in Crimea - Commander
Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Konstantin Sivkov, a member of the Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Sciences, pointed out that the drills in Crimea are a response that Russia has to deliver to the NATO buildup in the Black Sea region.

"The only explanation behind the Russian drills in Crimea is the rising tensions in the Black Sea. NATO is very active in the region, including regular naval drills and the missile defense deployment in Romania and Bulgaria. Those missile defenses are rather offensive than defensive. This is why the Russian leadership is concerned," Sivkov said.

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The expert said local conflicts fueled by NATO cannot be ruled out and in such an environment Russia should demonstrate its defensive capability.

"Russia has a formidable nuclear arsenal and neither the United States nor NATO will engage in a direct military confrontation with Moscow. However, local conflicts in separate regions are possible. In order to deter such conflicts, Russia needs to demonstrate its military power," Sivkov suggested.
The expert also noted that in recent years the area of the Black Sea has become a zone with an increased propensity for conflict.

"The Ukrainian conflict remains unsolved. The southwestern flank is crucial for Russia’s strategy security. Moreover, Georgia has unresolved territorial problems with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Nagorno Karabakh region is also close. To sum up, this is a very tense region," Sivkov concluded.

Earlier, in an interview with Radio Sputnik, member of the Crimean regional parliament Vladislav Ganzhara commented on Russia boosting defense at its southern border, calling Crimea "Russia’s unsinkable aircraft carrier."

"Russia is conducting military drills on its own land and Crimea residents feel much safer. In terms of defensive capabilities, Crimea today is an outstanding region. It is Russia’s unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Black Sea," the lawmaker said.


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