The Black Sea is a crossroads between Europe and Asia and an important waterway for trade and commerce. Its security is vital for the countries that border it, including NATO Allies Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and partners Georgia and Ukraine, and for the wider European community. Ever since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its subsequent military build-up in the Black Sea, the security situation has deteriorated. At the Warsaw Summit in 2016, NATO Allies announced an increased presence in the region. Today, NATO’s presence is a visible reminder that the Alliance is ready and able to work with Allies and partner nations to keep the Black Sea secure. Footage includes various shots of NATO ships exercising in the Black Sea and interviews with a range of Allied officers who explain why NATO’s presence is necessary.
– [Narrator] The Black Sea is the life blood of the nations that border it. An important waterway for trade and commerce it is also a crossroads between Europe and Asia. Home to NATO allies Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and NATO partners Georgia and Ukraine any instability in the region impacts the NATO alliance and threatens European security.
The Black Sea currently is faced with some significant strategic challenges. It’s crucial that NATO shows its presence in this area of the world, show solidarity with our allies and the other nations who are faced with those challenges on a day-to-day basis. NATO is going to be there to come and help if the need arises.
[Narrator] The security situation in the Black sea has got worse since Russia illegally annexed Crimea. Russia has increased its presence in the region and expanded its Black Sea fleet. Events such as the seizure of Ukrainian ships and sailors in 2018 have also increased tensions in the area.
In response to Russia’s aggressive actions NATO has stepped up its presence in the Black Sea region over the past few years.
[Narrator] At the Warsaw Summit in 2016 NATO announced plans to boost its presence in the Black Sea region with a tailored forward presence that increased air, land and naval forces. In 2018 NATO ships spent 120 days in the Black Sea up from 80 the previous year. NATO also continues to train and exercise with partners Georgia and Ukraine, offering practical support and strategic guidance.
Because the Black Sea doesn’t belong to one country, I think it’s important to continue exercising that all units and all nations do that freedom to be able to navigate where it is either necessary or where nations want too. And so, being here in the Black Sea with NATO just enforces that freedom of navigation.
[Narrator] NATO’s increased presence in the Black Sea demonstrates its commitment to allies and partners in the region. While sending a clear signal that freedom of navigation is assured, and the waterways remain open for business.
For Bulgaria and also for European security I believe Black Sea in very important. Because we are the borderline of the European union and also, we are the borderline of NATO and how we defend our country equals the way we are defending NATO and Europe as well.