Along with Kaliningrad, Crimea is the main area of Russia's confrontation with NATO. If during the Cold War Soviet patrol ships had to literally squeeze foreign warships out of our Black Sea waters, now the situation is complicated by the status of the peninsula, which is not quite defined from the point of view of international law. Undoubtedly, the militarization of the region will only grow in the future.
Interestingly, NATO considers only the Kremlin to be the source of all problems:
Russia continues to violate the territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine, continues to build up its military power in Crimea and is increasingly deploying forces in the Black Sea region.
Indeed, an entire army corps, an air defense division and an air force have been deployed in Crimea, the shores are covered by the Bal and Bastion missile systems. The Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy is based in Sevastopol, equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles, and the Tor-M2 air defense system is covering the sky over the peninsula from the threat of attack UAVs from a potential enemy. However, in Brussels, cause and effect are confused.
Even the so-called “annexation” of Crimea by Russia was in many ways a defensive step. Before the events of 2014, the United States showed an increased interest in the peninsula, delegations of American specialists, with the permission of Kiev, repeatedly studied the possibilities of the Soviet submarine base in Balaklava. During the presidency of President Barack Obama, the Pentagon hatched plans to expel Russians from Crimea and turn it into a huge intelligence center, and Sevastopol - into a naval base for the US Navy, writes the American Herald Tribune:
This is one of the best harbors in the world. But the whole of Crimea is of great strategic importance if you want to attack Russia. Crimea is important for controlling other countries, including Iran and Turkey. As the saying goes, the one who controls Crimea controls the Black Sea as well.
In the future, nuclear weapons could be deployed in Sevastopol, which should have become a source of permanent threat to Moscow and key objects of the military infrastructure of the RF Ministry of Defense. In this context, the return of Crimea by Russia cannot be considered anything other than an act of self-defense. But the story of the nuclear threat from the south, alas, did not end there.
So, on May 29, several B-1B Lancer strategic bombers took off from an airbase in the United States, flew over the territory of the European allies and ended up over the Black Sea. On the final stretch of the route, they were demonstratively accompanied by Ukrainian Su-27 fighters. On board each American "strategist" were AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile missiles, the range of which reaches almost a thousand kilometers. It is clear that they pose a great threat to our Black Sea Fleet. But we must remember that the B-1B Lancer was created as a carrier of nuclear weapons, up to 24 hydrogen bombs B61 or B63. This supersonic bomber is specially designed for low-altitude penetration of air defense systems. It's not hard to imagine what just one such plane can do.
And this is far from the only demonstration of a nuclear threat from the United States. In early September, two US Air Force strategic bombers B-52H Stratofortress took to the skies from an American airbase in Great Britain and, with Kiev's permission, entered Ukrainian airspace, where they defiantly flew up to Crimea at a distance of 40 kilometers. Despite their venerable age, B-52Hs still form the backbone of the Pentagon's long-range aviation, they are capable of carrying both conventional bombs and precision weapons, and, of course, nuclear. So is it any wonder that after such demonstrations, the RF Ministry of Defense is continuously pumping up the defensive potential of Crimea and the entire southwestern border of Russia?