Eastern Europe

Kremlin Vows The Black Sea Will Never Be “NATO’s Sea” Amid Renewed Calls For Ukraine’s NATO Membership To Be Fast-Tracked

Russian Military Exercises in the Black Sea

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The former, briefly lived, UK prime minister, Lizz Truss, renewed calls this week for Ukraine’s NATO membership to be fast-tracked. “I also believe we should fast-track Ukraine’s membership of NATO. We should have done it years ago, but the best time to do it will be now,” Truss told listeners during a speech at a Heritage Foundation event.

Truss’s call for expedited membership for Ukraine is one of several recent demands that the war-torn country be admitted to the military alliance as fast as possible, with other calls for fast-tracking coming from Poland and Ukraine. The Kremlin has responded firmly to such demands, with Russian state media reporting that Moscow has vowed that the Black Sea “will never be NATO’s sea.”

On Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “The Black Sea will never be a ‘NATO sea.’ This is a common sea for all coastal states, it should be a sea of cooperation, interaction and security. And it should have indivisible security.”

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“The Kremlin believes that NATO and demilitarization are mutually exclusive concepts,” Peskov added, indicating that Russia’s view of NATO is that it leads to conflict, not peace.

The use of the term ‘NATO sea’ was in direct response to Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, who had encouraged his country’s allies to make the Black Sea a “NATO sea,” while also calling for its demilitarization.

The tensions surrounding the Black Sea began to boil over last month when Russian forces downed a U.S. Reaper drone after it had been harassed by 2 Russian Su-27 Flanker jets.

The drone, which cost $32 million, crashed into the Black Sea after being sprayed with jet fuel from the Russian combat aircraft. American analysts had never seen such a maneuver before and confined that the jet fuel did enough damage to the drone, that it had to be ditched in the Black Sea.

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