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Black Sea Region as a Potential Boiling Point – Era of Innocence is Over

October 27, 2022 by BSC

The escalation of the war in Ukraine has raised a lot of questions regarding new security challenges across the globe. Discussing the Black Sea Region as a potential boiling point, panelists agreed that there is a need for a common risk-assessment and a long-term defensive collaboration because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  

The panel’s moderator, Oana Popescu-Zamfir, Director and founder of GlobalFocus Center, addressed her first question to Simona Cojocaru, asking whether Romania was content with NATO’s response to the threat against the Black Sea Region. 

Simona Cojocaru, State Secretary and Chief of the Department for Defense Policy, stated that Romania is “on the right path”. Cojocaru expressed her satisfaction with NATO’s rapid deployment of forces (within 3 days of the invasion, NATO ships were patrolling the Black Sea). She emphasized that Romania has also been diligent in its prioritization of military investments. Finally, Cojocaru bluntly conveyed that with the Russian invasion the “era of innocence is over.” Subsequently, the Black Sea Region needs to “do something about collaborative defense.”. 

Conversely, Vessela Tcherneva, Deputy Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, questioned the existence of a coherent Black Sea Region. She emphasized disparities amongst the countries regarding their worldviews, capacities and risk assessments. Since common threats have brought Black Sea states together, the question of regional security can be solved by addressing regional unity and connectivity, especially concerning strategic infrastructure in both the energy and military sectors. 

Doru Costea, Member of the Scientific Council of New Strategy Center, stressed that Turkey is an important factor in every equation regarding security questions in the Black Sea. He also emphasized the importance of clarifying future relationships with both Turkey and Russia. Finally, Costea noted that China’s important role that cannot be overlooked, because the West and China are interdependent. Costea also mentioned Strategic Partnership between China and Ukraine and shared interest between these two countries.

Alexandru Flenchea, Director of Initiative 4 Peace, stated that the Black Sea Region will have a great role in the future global security landscape, and that Moldova must be a part of this. He contended that Moldova’s requires EU support to sustain their infrastructure, stability of political institutions, address silence against Russia’s propaganda in Moldova. 

Thomas Mayr-Harting, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the Transdniestrian Settlement Process, was confident that Transdniestrian is not a crossroads for conflict. This is largely attributable to Ukraine’s defense-forces and the critical role of OSCE in maintaining a robust dialogue. He advocated for a shared risk-assessment amongst Black Sea Region countries and implied that the rest of Europe will have to find a way to establish normal relations with Russia in the future, regardless of the outcome of the Ukraine war.