Russia benefits from the protracted conflicts in the Black Sea region in various ways, but its military interests are paramount.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union reduced the area in which Russian forces could operate, but soon afterwards Moscow began to regain ground by using regional conflicts as a pretext to maintain its military presence. In Georgia, it has effectively done so in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali, while in Moldova it has exploited the frozen conflict in Transnistria. Russia’s approach became all too clear in Ukraine, where the annexation of Crimea and the ongoing military conflict in the east have enabled Moscow to advance its dominance in the Black Sea. – Middle East Institute
Norwegian Institute of International Affairs