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Russia's dark shadow: The Black Sea region is suddenly cast in geopolitical spotlight

By Walter Mayr

15 Mar 2023 · 16 min read

Editor's Note

The Black Sea has become a geopolitical hotspot as Russia flexes its muscles. Der Spiegel explores how residents are adapting to the new reality.

They fire from extremely close range. Fingers on the triggers of their pistols, elite fighters from the Romanian navy approach to within just three meters of the enemy. An enemy made of cardboard.

The war game on board the Romanian flagship Regele Ferdinand is to prepare the troops for the worst-case scenario. The almost 5,000-ton frigate is carrying a crew of 240 men and women as it glides through the waters of the Black Sea under a steel-blue sky. Off the port side, to the north, lies Ukraine. The coast of Russia is to the northeast, Georgia lies to the east and Turkey to the south.

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