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NATO orders warships into Black Sea as bloc’s chief calls for Ukraine to be allowed join & stop Russian ‘plan’ to dominate ex-USSR

NATO orders warships into Black Sea as bloc’s chief calls for Ukraine to be allowed join & stop Russian ‘plan’ to dominate ex-USSR
Relations between Russia and the West are in choppy waters, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who says the Black Sea is the new battleground in the US-led bloc’s fight for influence and control in the region.

At a joint press conference with Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denis Shmigal on Tuesday, Stoltenberg said that “we have seen a significant Russian buildup in the Black Sea, not least with the illegal annexation of Crimea, and also with more naval presence in the year.”

However, in the same breath, he pointed out that “NATO has increased its military presence in the Black Sea region, because we recognize the great strategic importance of this region for all NATO allies but also of course for our close partner, Ukraine.”

Also on rt.com Kiev hails NATO recognition of Ukraine’s ‘aspiration’ to join the bloc

Shmyhal added that his country will “start building two naval bases, one in the Black Sea one, in the Azov Sea.” According to him, the endeavor is part of an international effort to step up the presence of Western-backed forces in the region “as part of our cooperation with Britain, [which is] also helping us financially so this program can be launched.”

In a move that will surely raise eyebrows in Moscow, Stoltenberg added that Kiev is “recognized as a candidate for NATO membership. NATO allies help and support Ukrainian efforts to join the Alliance.” Joining the US-led organization has long been an ambition for the country, but one that has been fiercely opposed by Russia over fears of more military exercises and warplanes dangerously close to its borders.

In November, NATO rocket launch tests in Romania saw missiles capable of hitting Crimea fired into the Black Sea. The deputy head of the peninsula’s public chamber, Alexander Formanchuk, said that “provocations against Crimea have become more frequent. Unfortunately, we are witnessing a further exacerbation of international relations and the international situation. And the topic of Crimea is a convenient reason for escalating such provocations.”

Also on rt.com American missiles capable of striking Crimea fired into Black Sea as risk of confrontation on Russia’s borders continues to grow

Late last year, Stoltenberg set out his view that members of the bloc were on an unavoidable collision course with Russia because of its supposedly aggressive foreign policy. According to him, the country “seeks hegemony over the former Soviet republics and undermines their sovereignty and territorial integrity, seeking to block the path of countries” that want to join NATO.

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