Challenges and threats to Black Sea security. Who controls the Black Sea?

On July 31, 2020, the Center for Global Studies "Strategy XXI" held an international online round table "Challenges and threats of the Black Sea region", in the framework of the project "Promoting Security in the Black Sea Region through Greater Engagement of Non-Governmental Organizations", with the support of the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

The speakers of the round table were: Mykhailo Gonchar, President of the Center for Global Studies "Strategy XXI"; Monica Prisacariu, Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, Bucharest; Vitalii Martyniuk, Executive Director of the Center for Global Studies "Strategy XXI"; Mykhailo Samus, Deputy Director of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies; Andrii Klymenko, Chief Editor, BlackSeaNews; Borys Babin, Chief Researcher, Legislation Institute of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine; Yury Fedorov, Russian political and military expert; Maria Tomak - Co-Coordinator of the Media Initiative for Human Rights, Kyiv; Igor Stukalenko - Head of Energy Programs of the Center for Global Studies "Strategy XXI", Kyiv; Gela Vasadze, Host of the Big Game TV program (Georgia); George Visan, Security and defense program coordinator Romania Energy Center, Bucharest.

During the event, the Center for Global Studies "Strategy XXI" presented a final policy paper on the state of Black Sea security, prepared as a result of the annual monitoring of the situation in the Black Sea region.

"Most of the Black Sea is already controlled by Russia,” Mykhailo Gonchar emphasized, “In fact, the underwater and surface space of the Black Sea is de facto under the control of the Russian side."

"The situation in the Black Sea is no longer just threatening, but catastrophic due to Russia's aggressive actions,” Mykhailo Samus said.

“At the end of September and in October this year, the probability of military actions by the Russian Federation in the Black Sea is about 70-80%," said Andrii Klymenko. "October is a new risk factor with local elections in Ukraine. We will see how the pro-Russian forces in Ukraine, which still exist, will shake up the situation in some local communities at these local elections."

"The dependence of the countries of the region on gas and oil imports remains high, primarily due to the monopoly on supply of natural gas from the Russian Federation," Igor Stukalenko stressed.

The participants agreed that Russia's expansion in the Black Sea region should be counteracted by constant monitoring of the situation, involvement of all governmental and non-governmental players, strengthening cooperation between the Black Sea countries, as well as between the Black Sea and other regions, including the Baltic region.