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Poseidon 21 Black Sea naval exercises to begin


Poseidon 21 Black Sea naval exercises to begin

US Navy
Photo: US Navy

Poseidon 21, the first multinational naval exercise of 2021, will commence today.

The exercises, organised by the Romanian Naval Forces (FNR) and to be held in the Black Sea, will include the participation of the FNR along with forces from Bulgaria, France, Greece, Spain, the US and Turkey. Poseidon 21 is part of NATO’s Program of Combined Joint Enhanced Training to enhance security on its southeastern European flank as well as to ensure a continued presence in the region. Today’s exercises come after last month’s movement of the USS Porter, a guided-missile destroyer, to join the USS Donald Cook and a refueling ship, the USNS Laramie, in the largest deployment of US naval forces to the Black Sea since 2017.

Expect continued NATO engagement in the region in the coming months as allies look to sustain credible deterrence against Russia. Still, as the Black Sea is a vital interest of Russian foreign and domestic policy for advancing Moscow’s economic and geostrategic aims, any US or NATO-led activity in the region is likely to face disruption from Russian forces. Still, a head-on naval conflict is highly unlikely as the US and its NATO allies are far more likely to pursue diplomacy over aggression.

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