Between the Rock and the Hard Place: will the Black Sea Avoid the Escalation Ladder?

By Polina Sinovets

Since 2014 the Black Sea basin has been the showcase of the contested region where the growing expansion of Russia, on one hand, and the boosting forwarded presence of NATO, on the other, has the potential for a clash. This growing atten¬tion on the region is defined by the Russian annexation of Crimea, which was included in Moscow's defence perimeter in the Fundamentals of Russia’s Nuclear Deterrence Policy of 2020 and therefore made the Black Sea an area of possible sub-strategic use of nuclear weapons. However, a consistent and firm policy by NATO is capable of preventing the ultimate transformation of the Black Sea into a "Russian lake" by drawing the clear "red lines” for Russia and supporting the most vulnerable partners of the Alliance, Ukraine and Georgia.

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