Vol.13, No.1 | [Article] Russia and the Mediterranean in the Era of Great Power Competition: Russia’s New Naval Challenges to the West
Since 2014 Russia has steadily built a formidable naval and combined arms capability in the Black Sea and Mediterranean to lend credence to tis efforts to be acknowledged as a great power in the Mediterranean, Levant, and Middle East as well as to dominate Ukraine and the Black Sea. Another purpose of this force-building program is to extrude NATO from the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Seas. As a result of its success in seizing the Black Sea coast from Ukraine and in intervening in Syria, Moscow has moved on to start building a network of naval (and potentially air) bases throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and into the Gulf. These operations will not stop anytime soon and threaten not just Middle Eastern states but also the Black Sea littoral states like Romania and Turkey who are NATO allies. Thus the threats to Western allies and interests in the Black Sea are every bit as menacing if not more so than the oft-invoked threats to the Baltic States and should be recognized as such.