Russia’s centuries-old connection to the disputed Crimean peninsula will make it challenging for Moscow to loosen its control, according to a U.S. Navy officer.

Fox News National Security Analyst KT McFarland spoke to Capt. William Parker III, U.S. Navy.  Parker currently serves as a military fellow for the Council on Foreign Relations.

Parker has navigated into the Black Sea and understands why Russia sees naval access from Crimea as key for their military.

“It’s strategically and historically important to Russia,” Parker said. “That port [Sevastopol] is strategically important because of its position, and also [serves] as the headquarters for [Russia’s] Black Sea fleet.”

Parker, who recently commanded Destroyer Squadron Two Three, points out that each year nearly 55,000 vessels transit through the Bosporus and into the Black Sea.

Watch full interview above.