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Russia, Ukraine: NATO Hits Its Limits in the Black Sea

MIN READJan 22, 2019 | 19:38 GMT

(Stratfor)

Since the confrontation last year between Russia and Ukraine at Kerch Strait, NATO warships have been traveling into the Black Sea to demonstrate support for Ukraine. In the latest visit, the destroyer USS Donald Cook entered the Black Sea on Jan. 19 and visited Batumi in Georgia, while being closely tracked by Russian navy vessels. The British HMS Echo, a hydrographic survey ship, had visited the area in December. At the time, the British presence was openly tied to the Kerch Strait incident, and British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson even boarded a Ukrainian frigate on the Black Sea. NATO has consistently conducted maritime operations in the sea, but its visits have taken on added significance since the breakdown in relations between Ukraine and Russia in 2014. And the recent heightened tensions mean Russia is watching the transits even more closely....

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