On October 17, Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin embarked on a week-long European tour, including visiting the Black Sea countries of Georgia, Romania and Ukraine to “reassure allies and partners of America’s support for their sovereignty in the face of Russian aggression.” His visit to the Belgian capital, Brussels, will end, where he will take part in a meeting of NATO defense ministers.During his visit to Ukraine, he will meet with Ukraine’s top political and military leadership, President Volodymyr Zelensky, and the Defense Minister, to discuss Ukraine’s progress in implementing defense reforms needed to advance its Euro-Atlantic aspirations, bilateral cooperation and security in the Black Sea.It should be noted that General Austin is a former commander of the US Central Operational Command USCENTCOM, a specialist in “hot spots”. And the current visit is part of a wider “Black Sea” trip.General Austin is going to visit Romania, Georgia and Ukraine, and then plans to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels. It seems that the United States and NATO have finally decided on their strategy to confront Russia on the southern flank. And an informal coalition is being formed to implement the Black Sea Strategy. Determining specific measures to deter Russia is not the responsibility of the Minister of Defense. This will be determined by the European Command (USEUCOM) in cooperation with the relevant structures of NATO and the Black Sea Allies. Lloyd Austin’s task is to give political impetus to this shift.Ukraine, Georgia, Romania… These countries are Black Sea partners and allies of the United States. Obviously, it is on them, but not on Bulgaria or Turkey, the United States hopes to rely in the region. It seems that the United States and NATO will finally form their own strategy in the Black Sea. Unfortunately, they still do not have such a strategy. The head of the US Pentagon, among other things, flies to record what has been achieved before, as well as to launch the implementation of specific areas of work.According to Oleg Zhdanov, the Kremlin may well be hysterical about this: “It is possible that Russia will increase the number of shellings in the Donbass. But the aggressor country will not be able to do anything more. “Pavlo Lakiychuk made a similar statement. He says that Moscow, which, playing on the contradictions between the Black Sea states, has long skillfully “shuffled the cards” in shaping the regional security system in the Black Sea, also understands the significance of this trip and its possible consequences.”The Kremlin is likely to play on raising rates, aggravating the situation, trying to create a split between the Black Sea member states and partners. However, the visit of the US Secretary of Defense is not the beginning of the Black Sea security process, it is its structuring. And it will be quite difficult to prevent them at this stage, “said the expert of the Center for Global Studies” Strategy XXI “.
21 October 2021