No time for NATO complacency in the Black Sea,

[…] For an organization whose primary mission is collective security in the North Atlantic area, the Black Sea is a very important region for the North Atlantic Security Organization (NATO). This region forms the southeastern frontier of NATO’s area of responsibility. Thanks to Russia’s actions in the region, there are more miles of coastline under illegal military occupation along the Black Sea than in any other place in the world. […]

The 1936 Montreux Convention makes maintaining a robust NATO maritime presence difficult. The convention gave Turkey control over the Turkish Straits. As a NATO member, Turkey controlling the straits is not, in itself, a problem. However, the convention also placed limitations on the number, transit time, and tonnage of naval ships from non–Black Sea countries that may use the strait and operate in the Black Sea. Non–Black Sea state warships in the Straits must be less than 15,000 tonnes. No more than nine non–Black Sea state warships, with a total aggregate tonnage of no more than 30,000 tons, may pass at any one time, and they are permitted to stay in the Black Sea for no longer than 21 days. This places limitations on non–Black Sea NATO member operations in the Black Sea.

The second issue that frustrates NATO’s approach to the region is a difference in point of view by the Alliance’s Black Sea members. Romania is perhaps the most enthusiastic about increasing NATO’s presence in the Black Sea. On the other hand, Turkey, which has the most capable navy among the Alliance’s Black Sea members, sees the region as more of a national issue and not a NATO one. Therefore Turkey, as the controller and guarantor of the Turkish Straits under the 1936 Montreux convention, is always cautious, hesitant, and at times suspicious of any great NATO initiatives for the Black Sea. Läs artikel