Ukraine plans Black Sea bases as US steps up presence in region,

Ukraine is moving forward with plans to build two new naval bases in the Black Sea region, an area of tension with Russia that may see greater U.S. military and NATO involvement this year.

One base will be built along the Black Sea and the other in the Sea of Azov, a linked waterway that has been a flashpoint between Russia and Ukraine, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday. The United Kingdom is “helping us financially” and work on the projects will begin soon, Shmyhal said.

The comments came during a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who touted U.S. and alliance efforts in the region. The Black Sea is likely to be an area of focus when Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin takes part in his first NATO defense ministers’ meeting next week in Brussels.

“I think we have to understand that the Black Sea is of strategic importance for NATO and the NATO allies — our littoral states, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. And then we have two close and highly valued partners in the region, Ukraine and Georgia,” Stoltenberg said. Läs artikel