The independent resource on global security

Russia and Black Sea Security

Publisher: SIPRI
December, 2018

The Black Sea region is experiencing a changing military balance. The six littoral states (Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine) intensified their efforts to build up their military potential after Russia’s takeover of Crimea and the start of the internationalized civil war in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

With large armed forces around the Black Sea, Russia plays an important role in the security of the Black Sea region. Russia sees the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) expansion eastwards as a threat to its security. To keep strategic balance with NATO, Russia has responded by enhancing its military forces, including in the Black Sea region. Russia also sees the Black Sea as its access point to the Mediterranean region, where Russia’s role has been growing significantly in recent years.


I. Background

II. Defence policy

III. Armed forces structure

IV. Armed forces deployment

V. Military spending

VI. Arms holdings and acquisitions

VII. Conclusions



Alexandra Kuimova Alexandra Kuimova is a Researcher with UNIDIR’s Conventional Arms and Ammunition Programme. She was previously a Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
Siemon T. Wezeman is a Senior Researcher in the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.