Russia increasingly is flexing its military muscle in the Black Sea. Last year, it shut off access for foreign ships to the Sea of Azov, connected to the larger Black Sea by the Kerch Strait. In March and April this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to display his military’s might by massing 120,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, before backing off to a limited degree. […]
These tensions coincide with the 85th anniversary of the Montreux Convention that has regulated merchant and military maritime traffic into and out of the Black Sea since 1936. Negotiated and signed by littoral states of the Black Sea (Bulgaria, Romania, the Soviet Union, and Turkey) as well as Britain, France, Greece, Japan, and Yugoslavia, at a time when Europe was drifting towards World War II, the convention today remains a solid example of a rules-based international order. Its implementation has been far from perfect, but the very fact that, for 85 years, there has been no attempt to revise it and that the international community continues to abide by its terms speaks volumes.
As the trans-Atlantic alliance confronts the mounting Russian challenges to security and stability in the Black Sea, it should avoid steps and policies that risk undermining the Montreux Convention. Läs artikel