Big noise: how NATO exercises in the Black sea intended to “liberate” Crimea

Waters of the Black sea crossed the Wake behind NATO ships, stretching from the Strait of the Bosphorus and the Romanian Constanta to the shores of Abkhazia and the entrance into the Kerch Bay. Here February 1, conducted large-scale exercises of the naval forces of NATO “Shield of the sea” (Sea Shield, 2017) and on 6 February they begin their active phase.


Foreign naval Armada is impressive – 16 surface ships, a submarine, a dozen airplanes, the maneuvers also considerable area of 80 thousand square kilometers. What was the reaction of Russia, near whose shores and are these revels on the water? Sent for observation SRZK (average intelligence ship) “sea of Azov” – let them watch.


The current NATO maneuvers in the Black sea not just the first in 2017, but also, perhaps, the most ambitious in recent years in this region. The SeaShield 2017 exercises involved naval forces (Navy) of the eight States included in the Alliance – there are about 3 thousand soldiers from Bulgaria, Canada, Greece, Romania, Spain, USA, Turkey and, naturally, Ukraine.


Of the aforementioned maneuvers task – development of a standard method for mapping the air, underwater and surface attacks. From “voice-over” – using some country (meaning Ukraine) in the liberation of the “occupied territories” of the Crimea and the Donbass.



The scenario of the maneuvers, as is seen, very mossy, was developed by NATO strategists for at least a year or two ago. In today’s reality, especially given the drastic global strategies, where “liberation” of Crimea not just gone by the wayside, but generally considered impossible because the international legal status of the Peninsula, which is an integral part of the Russian Federation, similar maneuvers on the sea are just useless burning of fuel and waste to travel to the sailors.


This “campaign of intimidation” had been planned under the previous US administration, which threw money down the drain for NATO in different parts of the world, including the black sea basin. And, still acting, “the ransom of red chief”, the Secretary General of the Alliance forces, the Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg tries to master the allocated budget for the deterrence of Russia.


On the eve of the maneuvers Stoltenberg said in Brussels prepared a package of measures to strengthen NATO’s military presence in the Black sea region. It is expected to agree with and approve of February 15-16 in the capital of NATO meeting of defense Ministers of the Alliance. These steps, according to Stoltenberg, “are balanced and are a response to the decisive actions of Russia, its readiness to use military force”. As it turns out, in the light of these installations and planned actions of the NATO ships at Sea Shield.


“Sneeze-puff” – is a squadron of NATO in the Black sea. As in the picture. No, not beautiful – just the sight of Russian radars. Most of all radiate, oddly enough, pride of the Royal Navy British destroyer HMS Diamond, the largest and most powerful ship air defense. The destroyers of this project 45 in the UK have become about the big scandal – because of mistakes in its creation (2003), they produce great underwater noise Russian submarine spotted at a distance of 100 nautical miles (185 km) and can hit submarines on distant approaches when they will conceive “to uncover missiles.”



In the squadron NATO is the most powerful component of the Turkish fleet. But the flagship – the frigate TCG Fatih (F-242), launched in the early 70-ies of the last century the stocks of Germany, has long been asking for the cancellation. Yes in Ankara understand that maneuver with the threat along the shores of Russia today is just not worth it – work out NATO’s favor “part presence.”


Not really the concern and the Bulgarian patrol boat “Smila”, which became part of the NATO naval group. It was a good patrol, built in Tatarstan in Soviet times, in 1975, which until 1991 was used as a training ship for crews of the Soviet bloc countries undergoing training on this project, and then transferred to Bulgaria.


However, do not Shine with perfection and Spanish, Romanian (ancient frigate “King Ferdinand”) and the canadian frigate (“Almirante Juan de Borbon” and “St. John”). No offense – the Russian Navy can consider them except as educational goals for coastal missile systems “Bal” and “Bastion” located in Crimea, Novorossiysk and other black sea regions of Russia.


We will not deny the combat capabilities of the American missile destroyer DDG-78 USS Porter, which is stuffed with various kinds of weapons, including tactical, including those equipped with missile defense system “aegis”. Even with all that it would feel extremely insecure when exposed Russian electronic warfare likely to be attacked from land and from the sky and from under the water, this is quite a serious target.



And the American seamen of this ship know what they “kick your ass” in the first place and, accordingly, will try to avoid the “zone of contact” with the Russian Navy. And ideally – rammed “by mistake” any civil the cargo ship as it was in August 2012, when the destroyer collided with a Japanese tanker in the Panama canal zone and hastily departed for repairs at their base in Norfolk.


By and large the Russian naval games in the Black sea not particularly scared. Certainly without hysteria.


“You know that on exercises in the Black sea entered and continues to enter a large group of NATO ships, – stated the Minister of defence of Russia Sergey Shoigu. By decision of the General staff and commander of the Southern military district, all actions to control the length of this group and its work in the Black sea, of course, accepted. We currently can see and control everything that happens there. I hope that the exercises will be held in the safest environment without any call in respect of the Russian Federation. In any case, we to these challenges is ready.”



“If you remember the military history of the black sea, from the XVIII century the main forces here were Russian and the Ottoman Empire, according to the Russian scientist Alexander Zimouski. – Then to the list of coastal countries joined the Principality of Moldavia and Wallachia (later Romania), then the Bulgarian Empire (after the war of 1877), After the Second world war the USSR received the right to use Romanian and Bulgarian military bases, Turkey joined NATO, and in 1976, the Warsaw Pact countries established a joint black sea fleet for operations in the framework of the South-Western theatre of military action, of which the Black sea was in accordance with military concepts of the time.


The concept of this in geopolitical terms are outdated. Increased in the region of the Maritime powers, at the expense of Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia and Abkhazia. In 2001 was created the black sea naval group for operational cooperation (CVMG RH) “Blackseafor”. Her activity was low, and after 2014 it has completely stopped. The vacuum, which was not slow to take advantage of the country, whose presence in the Black sea is still limited by the Montreux Convention of 1936. Specifically, increased markedly in the US and the UK. For the legitimacy of their presence in the black sea coast of Russia was conceived by an interesting combination.



At the Warsaw summit of NATO, Romania has initiated the creation of the Black sea the permanent connection of the ships of the Alliance. But, according to the above mentioned the Montreux Convention, warships nachimovsky States can stay in the Black sea not more than three weeks. That is, the creation of a permanent NATO fleet had only three countries: Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, and ships of other powers to them would periodically joined. But Bulgaria has said about his participation in this project (the reasons for this we don’t consider here, but which you can guess without much effort).


So officially, the decision in Warsaw was not taken, however, in the final document of the summit the theme of the Black sea included, and I quote: “In the black sea region <…> we (NATO) will continue to monitor the implications for NATO of the current developments in the area and to take them into account in the approaches and policies of the Alliance. We will continue to support, as appropriate, regional efforts by the littoral States of the black sea basin aimed at ensuring security and stability. We will also strengthen dialogue and cooperation with Georgia and Ukraine in this regard.


This vague wording allows the leadership of the Alliance: a) to argue that technically teachings SeaShield – 2017 are not actually naval maneuvers of NATO; b) to justify the direction of the ships in the Black sea previously adopted solutions to ensure the security and stability of coastal countries. In our case, to the coast of Romania arrived the ships of the Second permanent naval group of NATO (SNMG-2). The Romanians host and, simultaneously, pass a kind of test of aptitude of its fleet and its compliance with the standards of the naval NATO.



As you can see, the hypothetical clash of fleets, like the battle of Sinop, or the battle of Chesma, even hot guys from NATO while not being seriously considered.


But submarines on the Black sea, there are only Russia and Turkey. Turkey participated in the exercise “Shield of the sea”, as a NATO member. So anti-Russian orientation of these maneuvers is obvious and set initially based on the idea of a naval training game, and the presence of American and British warships should give confidence to such a powerful fleet as the Georgian and Ukrainian are also invited to participate. Officially, however, NATO officials say that their war ships came in Black sea to ensure safe navigation in the region.This is more than a serious threat to the fishermen of Balaklava, whose ancestors, according to one legend, the black sea, sunk the fleet of Ulysses.


In General we see that while the work machine anti-Russian military escalation across the arc from Tallinn to Constanta launched by Obama. And while that inertia remains, and budgets in NATO for these programs are allocated – they need to learn. And then suddenly from trump will come other orders.”


On the “challenges” of NATO in the Black sea while out on the only one ship – SRZK “sea of Azov”. Large forces, in fact, not required. The possibilities of this medium reconnaissance vehicle capable of operating in the near-ocean area, more than enough to have a real understanding of the foreign naval exercises off the Russian coast. What needs to be see what need to tell. Well and further – on circumstances. Still behind not only the entire black sea fleet and the entire Russian army.


Author: Viktor Sokirko

Photo: Bernd Wustneck/ dpa/ Impact Press Group/ Rob Arnold/ Globallookpress/ U. S. Navy/ Ministry of defense of Russia