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Russian military analyst Sergei Ishchenko comments on the US military's apparent plans to increase their presence on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, and the possible threat to the Crimean peninsula this may pose.
25 May, 2016
US Ambassador to Bulgaria Eric Rubin confirmed late last week that the United States would deploy additional troops to the country and conduct more training exercises beginning next year. The move, Rubin said, would be part of an overall boost in US capabilities deployed in the Black Sea region.
"I think you will see there's already planning underway for [a] significant increase, which will include multiple NATO allies – the United States, Bulgaria, and Romania working together to address challenges in the Black Sea, including naval forces, and I think you will see a significant increase [in cooperation] between our navy and your navy this year," Rubin dded.
Ishchenko explained that "from the ambassador's words it follows that 'tactical units' of US marine commandos have already formed up and are making themselves comfortable in the Black Sea Region. Between April 13-30, the Bulgarian Navy's press service reported on some very interesting Bulgarian-American drills in the areas of Burgas and Varna. By all appearances, the Navy SEALs played the central role in the maneuvers."
The reason for this, Ishchenko noted, is that "around these parts, an opponent for the SEALs other that the Russian Black Sea Fleet simply does not exist. The rest of the coast is occupied by loyal allies of the North Atlantic Alliance, and those wishing to join it as soon as possible (Abkhazia being the only exception)."
"The details of these preparations, of course, are not for the public to know. But five of the ten Project 21980 Grachonok-type anti-sabotage patrol ships serving in the Russian Navy have already been handed over to the Black Sea Fleet. Another five are being built at Zelenodolsk, and it's possible that most of them will go to the same place."