May 28, 2023

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European security expert: NATO should help Romania develop more capabilities in the Black Sea

NATO must help Romania and Bulgaria develop more capabilities that can deter Russia, NATO does not have such capabilities in the Black Sea, the expert in European security and defense policies Mihai Sebastian Chihaia said on Friday.

“If we think about the future of security in the Black Sea, it does not look good at all. Now we obviously have Sweden and Finland that will join NATO, so in the Baltic Sea we can talk about a NATO lake, while in the Black Sea we are talking about a Russian lake, that was the concept,” Chihaia told AGERPRES.

He stated that NATO must do more in the Black Sea, something that has been talked about for several years.

“After the annexation of Crimea, there was always talk at NATO summits, there was even a lot of lobbying from Romania and other states, for NATO to be more active in the Black Sea. And this happened, but to a too small extent in my opinion I think that NATO should first of all have a strategy for the Black Sea, it doesn’t have one, but there has been talk of developing one. A strategy with various points that should be reached, with a calendar, with clear actions”, stressed Mihai Sebastian Chihaia.

On the other hand, the expert, who works within the European Policy Center, pointed out that NATO should have a greater presence in the Black Sea.

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“I know we have the Montreux Convention and ships entering the Black Sea through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles must have a maximum tonnage. But despite this, NATO should do more. It could bring more ships, in the limit of this tonnage,” he said, adding that more visits could be made to the port.

Asked if this NATO presence is limited in order not to irritate Russia in this tense context, Chihaia replied that he does not know to what extent this is true.

“On the other hand, there are also dissensions between the allies. When we were talking after the annexation of Crimea about a greater NATO presence, Turkey was not very positive. Turkey wanted to keep its influence there, it wanted to keep its relationship with Russia, so I think there are several factors”, explained the expert in European security and defense policies.

“A third thing that should be done is the development of the maritime military capabilities of the NATO states in the region – Romania, Bulgaria and, if we talk further, the reconstruction of the Ukrainian navy. At some point we will have to discuss this and NATO will have to it helps Ukraine to have a navy that can counter threats,” Chihaia said.

Asked if NATO should help Romania and Bulgaria develop superior capabilities more quickly, he replied: “Certainly”. “And the other NATO member states should help Romania Bulgaria develop more capabilities that can deter Russia, because at the moment NATO does not have capabilities that can deter” in the Black Sea.

Instead, Russia launched, at the beginning of July, the global naval strategy, which talks about the Black Sea quite a lot and about the fact that Russia wants to develop even more capabilities to launch in the Black Sea – vessels, drones, missile defense. “This should be countered”, pointed out the expert from the European Policy Centre.

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