13:56 GMT03 December 2020
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    Former US Navy Intelligence Officer Captain Steven Horrell claims that the leadership of NATO is hinting at a possible agreement coming out of the Warsaw summit in July on the alliance’s persistent presence in the Black Sea.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The leadership of NATO is hinting at a possible agreement coming out of the Warsaw summit in July on the alliance’s persistent presence in the Black Sea, former US Navy Intelligence Officer Captain Steven Horrell told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    "Nothing specific has come out of the [NATO] defense ministerials, but we will see looking to Warsaw, what gets discussed and what gets included in the final communiques," Horrell said of a possible persistent rotational NATO presence in the Black Sea.

    In a Wednesday speech in Washington, DC, Romanian Ambassador to the United States George Cristian Maior said his country would be proposing a multinational Black Sea brigade at the July NATO summit.

    Additionally, following a Tuesday defense ministers meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said alliance members agreed on measures to enhance defense and deterrence in the Black Sea region.

    Horrell acknowledged the challenges of keeping a "persistent non-permanent presence" in the Black Sea due to allies’ limited overall naval capacity and the Montreaux Convention, which limits the size and deployment time of ships in the Black Sea.

    A persistent Black Sea presence should be "alliance-centric," Horrell added, explaining that NATO members could rotate ships into the area on month to month basis.

    The United States and NATO have expanded their presence in the Black Sea following the 2014 reunification of Crimea with the Russian Federation, a move that NATO sees as a violation of international law.

    Russia maintains the legitimacy of the 2014 Crimea referendum to rejoin Russia and has warned NATO against destabilizing the region through additional military deployments.


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