The war in Ukraine has forced a rethinking in NATO strategy and this will impact Greece’s position within the Alliance.
By deciding to send to Ukraine military equipment compatible with the invaded country’s systems, 20,000 AK-47-type assault rifles, 815 Soviet-made RPG-18 anti-tank missile launchers and 122 missiles for Czech-made RM-70 multiple rocket launchers, Greece showed from the start its intention to align itself with NATO’s indirect assistance to Ukraine. The government is also preparing a further upgrade of the northeastern port of Alexandroupoli.
As Kathimerini revealed last Thursday, the US will use Alexandroupoli as a staging point for some 3,000 personnel and equipment that will be deployed in neighboring Bulgaria and Romania, which borders Ukraine. It is a matter of days, even hours, before ships carrying personnel and equipment dock in Alexandroupoli.
Bulgaria and Romania also have a Black Sea coastline, which makes them NATO frontline states in this conflict.
Already last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, from Vilnius, Lithuania, went a step further from the activation of NATO’s Response Force and spoke of a permanent stationing of NATO forces in its eastern flank. The collective defense of Eastern Europe is being upgraded, with more boots on the ground. With the port of Alexandroupoli and the Souda naval base on the island of Crete, Greece owns a valuable passage to both the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, where there is a Russian naval presence.
Greece will be called upon to contribute ground forces in NATO’s reaction force and its Air Force is already contributing with patrols over the Bulgarian and Romanian coastlines, as well as over North Macedonia.
That the United States place such an importance on Greece’s role in NATO is interesting, given that Turkey, to the east, and with its own extensive Black Sea coastline, has always been considered the pivotal ally in the area.