After the Crimean crisis: towards a greater Russian maritime power in the Black Sea
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The modernization of the Black Sea Fleet currently underway is believed to be one of the most ambitious parts of the Russian State Arms Procurement programme 2011-2020. Up to 18 units are being built and are expected to be commissioned in the Russian Black Sea Fleet by 2020 while new infrastructures are being developed. However Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014 has overthrown the Black Sea maritime context. It is likely to give substantial impetus to Russian naval plans in the Black Sea and by extension to sustain Moscow's resumption of naval activity in the Mediterranean. Yet whereas Russia's maritime power has been dramatically enhanced due to the takeover of Crimea Moscow's naval power in the Black Sea and in the Mediterranean remains challenged by a set of qualitative factors. Beyond the Ukrainian crisis has demonstrated the inability of the European Union to manage its Black Sea environment as well as it has highlighted the United States waning influence and interests in the region.