Russia is transforming the security environment in the Black Sea. How can the transatlantic community and its regional allies respond to Moscow’s agenda and achieve stability in the region?
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The expansion of Russia’s Black Sea security presence over the last decade and the modernisation of its armed forces are part of a long-term strategy by Moscow to assert control across the region. The 2014 annexation of Crimea and the subsequent military build-up on the peninsula, as well as the incursions into Donbas, marked the crystallisation of a Russian Black Sea security strategy that aimed to ensure Moscow’s dominance over the Sea of Azov and northern maritime areas, as well as the incorporation of Russian military forces in the South Caucasus into a coordinated regional approach. Russia’s ability to consolidate its security role in the Black Sea has also formed a key part of Moscow’s ambitions to project influence and force into the neighbouring regions of the Balkans, the East Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine has further shifted the security environment in the Black Sea, with Russia’s territorial advances strengthening its regional position and threatening to incorporate much of Ukraine’s coastal areas. President Vladimir Putin has suggested that the coercive incorporation of territory is now a principal goal of the war. In response, NATO is strengthening its own presence in key member states and supplying increasingly sophisticated weapons to Ukraine. As the war in Ukraine continues, there are signs of wider regional instability emerging.
This discussion will consider how the war in Ukraine is affecting Russia’s security strategy towards the Black Sea, and its implications for peace and security across the region.
- What is Russia’s strategic view of the Black Sea as a regional security space?
- How is the current war against Ukraine affecting Russia’s regional strategy and the importance of the Black Sea in Russian security policy and thinking?
- What are the risks of wider violence and conflict across the region?
- How can the transatlantic community most effectively counter Russia’s regional approach together with key partners in the Black Sea?
Michael Hikari Cecire, Senior Policy Advisor, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, The Helsinki Commission
Dr Maryna Vorotnyuk, Associate Fellow, RUSI
Dr Neil Melvin, Director, International Security Studies, RUSI
Chair: Dr Jonathan Eyal, Associate Director, Strategic Research Partnerships, RUSI.
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