Article de Pascal Ausseur et Pierre Razoux publié dans Russia in NATO’s South: Expansionist Strategy or Defensive Posture? de la Division Recherche du Collège de défense de l’OTAN.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit Russia in the spring of 2020, the Mediterranean coastal states, and NATO member states, Russia’s aeromaritime presence in the Mediterranean was still very active. In April 2020, several incidents between American P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and Russian Su-35 fighters occurred off the coast of Syria.
Was such Russian activism a consequence of the Arab Spring which had created disputed spaces off Syria and Libya? Was this a response to the diminishing US Navy presence in the Mediterranean after the end of Operation Unified Protector in Libya? Was it a consequence of the annexation of Crimea, or do the acts respond to the interests of Russian energy groups? Do the incidents translate the Kremlin’s desire to defend its partners through a revisited form of gunboat diplomacy?