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International Relations

Black Sea

  • 21 Oct 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, the US Defence Secretary has urged more defence cooperation among friendly Black Sea countries amid Russia “militarisation” of the region.

  • This came ahead of a NATO Ministers summit. 

Key Points

  • Geographical Location of Black Sea:
    • The Black Sea is located between Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
    • It is surrounded by the Pontic, Caucasus, and Crimean Mountains in the south, east and north respectively.
    • The Black Sea is also connected to the Sea of Azov by the Strait of Kerch.
    • The Turkish straits system - the Dardanelles, Bosporus and Marmara Sea - forms a transitional zone between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
    • The bordering countries of Black Sea are: Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania.
    • There is a significant absence of oxygen in the water (anoxic waters).
  • Russian Interest in Black Sea:
    • The unique geography of the Black Sea region confers several geopolitical advantages to Russia.
      • Firstly, it is an important crossroads and strategic intersection for the entire region.
        • Access to the Black Sea is vital for all littoral and neighboring states, and greatly enhances the projection of power into several adjacent regions.
      • Secondly, the region is an important transit corridor for goods and energy.
      • Thirdly, the Black Sea region is rich in cultural and ethnic diversity, and due to geographical proximity, shares close historical ties with Russia.
    • Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 and carved off the strategically vital peninsula of Crimea, the largest land grab from a sovereign state in this century.
      • Most countries do not recognise the takeover and stand behind Ukraine’s claims to the waters.
      • In November 2020, India voted against a Ukraine-sponsored resolution in the UN that condemned alleged human rights violations in Crimea thereby backing old ally Russia on the issue.
  • US Interest in Black Sea:
    • The Black Sea is bordered by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. All these countries are NATO countries.
    • Due to this faceoff between NATO countries and Russia, the Balck sea is a region of strategic importance & a potential maritime flashpoint.
    • NATO members Turkey, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria are in the Black Sea, but warships from the US, UK and other NATO allies also have made increasingly frequent visits in a show of support to Ukraine.
      • Russia has frequently responded to NATO warships visits near Crimea, casting them as destabilizing.

Source: TH

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