Which is precisely one of the main reasons why Russia took Crimea from Ukraine, and quite possibly the rest of Ukraine soon. They are pushing an area access denial strategy in the region. This was mentioned in a previous post. Although they can apparently shut off U.S. Navy ships off like a TV, they still need the land grabs to project power. Meanwhile, Western powers merely sit back, warn and send the usual non-weapon supplies along with hollow promises of protection. Because of this, Russia smells blood and will likely continue.
NATO’s top military commander has warned that Russian militarisation of the annexed Crimea Peninsula could be used to exert control over the whole Black Sea.
NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, US General Philip Breedlove, has accused Russia of keeping forces in Ukraine to help separatists, and has expressed fears that Russia may be marshalling resources to push for more territory.
“The capabilities that are being installed in Crimea will bring an effect on almost the entire Black Sea,” General Breedlove said.
“There’s a great force there that can be exerted if it’s required. Inside Ukraine we still see a large number of Russians who are involved primarily in training, advising, assisting and helping the forces of the Russian-backed forces in the East.”
General Breedlove was set to meet with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, as Kiev stirred further Russian ire by stating it hoped to join the Western security alliance.
Russia is strongly opposed to the expansion of Western institutions in what it considers to be its backyard.
Russian deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov said Ukraine’s efforts to join NATO would “lead only to further complication of the situation”.
The Ukrainian public was never keen on NATO membership in the past but there has been a dramatic shift in opinion since Russia annexed Crimea in March, with 51 per cent backing NATO membership in a recent poll.
Full article: NATO warns that Russia could exert control over entire Black Sea (ABC)