Russia’s Black Sea Fleet command has intimated that a planned multinational naval exercise off Crimea is offensive to Russia and damaging to its prestige. Scheduled for July within the framework of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, the exercise is reportedly based upon a scenario envisioning a separatist rebellion in a coastal region of a newly independent, democratic state, against which a neighboring great power has raised territorial claims. That great power supports the separatists’ armed resistance to the legitimate authorities of the young country, and the latter appeals for international support. NATO peacekeeping forces arrive by sea and land in the troubled area. "It seems fairly clear who that great power is supposed to be," the Fleet headquarters sources concluded. Stung by the implications, the Russian fleet command proposes to decline an invitation to participate with a landing ship in the exercise, and may take part instead only as an observer. (Interfax-Ukraine, January 3)
Russia Arms Company Disturbed over Ukrainian Weapons Sales.