Black Sea to continue to figure prominently on our agenda – NATO Dpty Secretary General
Security in the Black Sea region will be at the forefront of NATO's agenda, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană has said.
"That is a lot of activity that we do in the Black Sea. Speaking of exercises we had this massive exercise in the first part of the year – exercise Steadfast Defender 2021. This was probably one of the most important exercises in the last 20 years that we have been doing. What we are doing for the sub region of the Black Sea and the whole Euro-Atlantic space is showing that we are looking organically 360 degree to the security of the Alliance. And the Black Sea will continue to figure prominently on our agenda down the road," Geoană told Interfax-Ukraine.
He pointed out that the Black Sea region is of outstanding importance to NATO.
"The Black Sea region is of prominent importance for NATO. I mentioned the last summit and the declaration of the last summit. Black Sea is prominent. Why? Because Russia has been using the illegal occupation of Crimea basically not only to project power but also to take illegal control not only of the land but also some portions of the sea. But it is also a power projection to the Middle East, to the Levant, to the Mediterranean. This is why a combination of factors make the Black Sea very important for NATO. We are doing a lot," Geoană said.
NATO Deputy Secretary General said there is a lot of NATO and allies' maritime presence in the Black Sea.
"I think that more than 6 months per year we have ongoing presence. There was also a recent mission of the UK, of the Netherlands. Air policing is very active. As we speak, air policing is done by our British friends and before augmented by our German friends. Before it was Spain and Canadians, Italians," he said.