A Ukrainian naval cutter at pier in Berdyansk, Ukraine (Photo: president.gov.ua)
Vladimir Putin‘s press secretary Dmitry Peskov says that Kyiv’s construction of new bases on the Black Sea, bases being built with American and British help, threatens to “destabilize” the situation, although the Kremlin spokesman suggested that the exact nature of that threat requires further study (Britain is going to assist in constructing one Ukrainian naval base on the Black Sea and another on the Sea of Azov, – Ed.).
This week, in his message to the Verkhovna Rada, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukraine would soon have two new bases on the Black Sea, a development that he suggested would help Ukraine defend itself against threats from Russia and that was one of the reasons the country’s defense budget would not be cut.
The two bases, which are being built with British assistance, are not the only ones of this kind. According to Russian commentators, two more proto-bases are being constructed with American assistance.
Russian commentators have suggested that Kyiv cannot afford to build these bases on its own, an indication that Moscow is likely more disturbed by the fact that the Americans and British are involved in this process than that Ukraine will have more naval facilities in the future.
Since 1991, Moscow has been concerned about and opposed to the construction of any base anywhere in the former Soviet space if it involves Western assistance, convinced that the West is building such bases nominally for the countries where they are located but will use them in the event of a military conflict themselves.
Perhaps significantly, the Russian government has not been equally concerned about China’s construction of military bases for Tajikistan which could be used against Russian interests in the same way.
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