Saturday, November 05, 2016

Battlestar Crimea

Russia is beefing up their bases in Russian-occupied Crimea. This will allow Russia to exert power and influence against Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, and Georgia. I'd throw in Turkey, too, but Turkey might be bending to Russian power as a favor to a fellow autocrat as Turkey dismantles rule of law, which would then allow Russia to exert power and influence in the eastern Mediterranean in concert with bases in Syria.

Here we go:

Based on recent site observations by Reuters, accounts from locals, media reports and official Russian data, Moscow has reanimated multiple Soviet-built facilities in [Russian-occupied Crimea], built new bases and stationed soldiers there.

Crimea as a base area makes sense to project power farther afield than the Black Sea:

Russian newspaper Izvestiya quoted a military source in May as saying Moscow will restore the Dnepr station so it can "detect launches of ballistic, cruise and hypersonic missiles from the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea area."

I've noted that Russian intervention in Syria might not have been justified without Russia's conquest of Crimea. Crimea makes the most sense as a Russian base to project power into the eastern Mediterranean Sea to extend Russia's defensive perimeter to that region. And Syria is the most likely place for Russia to base forces near that area (unless Russia completely flips Turkey or Greece).

Oh, and this is a hoot of reporting from that story:

Spurred by years of growing mutual distrust and in particular the conflict in Ukraine, both Russia and NATO are boosting their military capabilities across eastern Europe, prompting officials such as Polish President Andrzej Duda and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to talk of a return to open hostilities. [emphasis added]

Whoa! Too bad that nonspecific issue of "the conflict in Ukraine" is harming relations? If only we knew who had done that dastardly thing to spoil relations! Maybe then the "mutual distrust" of Russian paranoid ranting about non-existent NATO threats to Russia (remember, the deployment of 4 NATO battalions is being portrayed by both NATO and Russia as a major NATO response) and actual Russian threats to attack NATO with nukes wouldn't have raised the threat of open hostilities.

The Mediterranean Sea has been a NATO lake since the end of the Cold War. Is the question of control being reopened?