Russia continues military cooperation with NATO. Participation of patrol ship Ladny of the Black Sea Fleet in the antiterrorist operation of NATO Active Endeavor conducted in the Mediterranean Sea served as a real embodiment of contracts in this field. The action began on September 8 but already during the period of fulfillment the task of control over civilian seafaring the Russian ship checked more than 30 ships.
The press service of the Black Sea Fleet remarks that patrol ships Ladny, commanded by Captain of the Second Rank, Alexander Shvarts, was transferred to operational command of the commander of Active Endeavor operation for the period of participation in the operation. Additional hardware was installed at the Russian ship for the coordination of its actions with the operational command.
In the next few weeks, the main task of the ship will be control over merchant seafaring in the zone of the operation, including interrogation and tracking of a ship being of interest, the examination of a ship in case of reception of a relevant instruction.
In the framework of the operation, the Russian patrol ship interacts with the frigate Canarias of the Spanish navy that is a part of the permanent naval group of NATO in the Mediterranean Sea. Meanwhile, legal confirmation of participation of Ladny in exercises in the Mediterranean Sea took place only quite recently. On September 14, Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Vice Admiral Alexander Kletskov in Novorossiysk and commander of the maritime component of the united armed forces of NATO, Vice Admiral Roberto Cesaretti in Naples, discussed the procedure for the participation of ships of the Black Sea Fleet in the antiterrorist operation of NATO in the Mediterranean Sea. A representative of the information and public relations service of the Black Sea Fleet reported that “the meeting was resulted in signing of tactical memorandum “On mutual understanding between the commander of the Black Sea Fleet of Russia and commander of the maritime component of the united armed forces of NATO on participation of the Russian Navy in Active Endeavor operation and assistance to it.”
Kletskov explained that this document regulated the ways of participation of Russian ships in the Active Endeavor operation, as well as the procedure and issues of mutual exchange of information between the staff of the maritime component of the united armed forces of NATO and staff of the Black Sea Fleet and degree of participation of Russian ships in the Active Endeavor operation. The memorandum also determines the interaction of the parties in emergency situations, logistics, technical and medical support of ships, visits to ports and overage of the operation in mass media, says the representative of the information service of the fleet. It is planned that the participation of Ladny in the operation will last until the end of September.
Meanwhile, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes that NATO is going to spread Active Endeavor operation to the area of the Black Sea too. The commander of the united naval forces of NATO in South Europe, Italian Vice Admiral Ferdinando Sanfelice di Monteforte, announced this in the past. He was supported by Kurt Walker, head of the department of Europe and Eurasia of the US Department of Foreign Affairs.
Meeting with NATO command, Sergei Ivanov said frankly that Moscow was against spreading the activities of NATO in the Black Sea. In its official statement, the Foreign Ministry of Turkey pointed out that “authorized persons of the Turkish Republic express concern about this project because it impacts the rights of Turkey written in the Montreau Convention.” According to this convention, Turkey lets only military ships of the Black Sea countries through Bosporus unopposed.
At any rate, it seems that times are changing. Former Navy Commander Vladimir Masorin, who visited the US in early September, spoke about the role of Ladny in Active Endeavor operation, saying that these exercises manifested a new level of interaction between the navies of Russia and America. Masorin stressed that command of the US navy expressed an intention to “broaden interaction with the Russian Navy in the interests of security and stability in the World Ocean.” Russia’s answer to this proposal remains unknown. At any rate, it is known that the main staff of the Russian Navy gives up interaction with NATO in the Black Sea. An officer of this agency wishing to remain anonymous says that problems of collective security in the Black Sea are solved by Russia with the assistance of maritime operations Blackseafor and Black Harmony. Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Georgia participate in these exercises. Masorin adds that NATO operations in the Mediterranean Sea and Blackseafor tasks are “identical in many aspects” and are fulfilled efficiently there. Masorin asks a rhetorical question, “Why is it necessary to attract NATO to this?”
Thus, Moscow increases its military activeness in the Mediterranean Sea. It interacts with NATO and has support on the part of the alliance. However, for the purpose of provision of its own security, Russia is against the active presence of NATO ships in the Black Sea. Of course, this policy has its own logic and explanations. At any rate, it will be efficient at long as Turkey controlling Bosporus straits has its firm position. Unfortunately, besides Turkey and Russia all other Black Sea countries are waiting for NATO eagerly.