Russia’s Strategy in the Black Sea Basin

War on the Rocks – Although Moscow is in no position to dominate the Baltic Sea, its efforts to turn the Black Sea into a mare nostrum are bearing fruit. Over the past several years, the Kremlin has mastered the Baltic feint: By engaging in aerial and maritime provocations in a region highly monitored by the West, Russia is able to entrench its position in the Black Sea without notice. While most U.S. strategists worry about the Suwalki Gap on the Polish-Lithuanian border as a potential Russian invasion route into Central Europe, it is Russia’s buildup in the Black Sea that should concern policymakers. By using the Black Sea as a springboard, Russia can project power beyond its immediate surroundings — into the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean — and strengthen its reemergence as a great power.