Russian Expert Golts: Rising Tension Between Russia And NATO Can Turn The Black Sea Into A Battlefield; The Balance Of Power Favors Moscow
4-15-19, * -- The liberal Russian military expert Aleksandr Golts commented that the rising tensions between Russia and NATO could transform the Black Sea into a battlefield. He said: 
"Russia as a source of military threat was the main subject of the NATO Foreign Ministers [70th] 'anniversary' meeting in Washington April 3-4, 2019. Despite numerous internal conflicts that were also discussed at the summit (one of them is US Pres Trump's insistent demand to reduce U.S. expenditures on European security), there is one immutable factor that ensures NATO unity. It is the opposition to what NATO members consider 'the threat from the East.' […]
"Alexander Grushko said that Russia is currently conducting the planned upgrade of its Black Sea Fleet and is therefore prepared for 'any possible turns in the sphere of military security'. 'Our position is clear: any reinforced NATO presence in the Black Sea region is pointless from a military perspective,' the diplomat stated. 'It will not strengthen security in the region nor that of NATO itself, it will only involve additional military risks.'
"General Vladimir Shamanov, head of the State Duma Defense Committee, quite frankly promised NATO a shellacking. […]
Vice President Mike Pence stated at the Washington meeting of NATO foreign ministers, Turkey was subjected to extremely harsh criticism due to its intention to buy the Russian S-400 air defense system. 'Turkey's purchase of a $2.5 billion Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system poses great danger to NATO and the strength of this alliance.' Ankara does not intend to yield to pressure. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called the purchase of the S-400 a 'done deal'. [...]
Since 2014, NATO warships have been regularly displaying the flag near Crimea. And now they will be most likely based there almost permanently. The capture of Ukrainian ships in November 2018 was not a pre-planned operation. The Russian coast guard and their commanders obviously lost their nerve. And no one can guarantee that this will not happen again."
'The whole subject of the new NATO 'deterrence' measures package in the Black Sea, as well as Moscow's readiness to immediately interpret the vague threats from Brussels as a scenario for direct military confrontation, once again confirm that the parties have entered a new cold war.'
 Echo.msk.ru, April 4, 2019. Golts' article 
*Excerpted full report from Memri here
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