Briefieng “Who sets the rules in the Black Sea. Russia vs NATO”

On October 29, 2019, the Centre for Global Studies Strategy XXI held a briefing “Who sets the rules in the Black Sea. Russia vs NATO” and presented to the public a new Issue No. 3 (35) of the Black Sea Security Journal (Ukrainian edition) in the Glavkom Information Agency.

Vitalii Martyniuk, Executive Director of the Centre for Global Studies Strategy XXI, presented the results of the monitoring of the security situation in the Black Sea-Azov region, which is carried out within the Project “Promoting Security in the Black-Azov Sea Region through Higher Involvement of Non-Governmental Players” with support of the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. The Policy Brief is available online. 

During his speech, Mykhailo Gonchar, President of the Centre for Global Studies Strategy XXI, focused on new forms of demonstration of Russian domination in the regional space, in particular the displacement of NATO from the Black Sea region. In particular, the case of Bulgaria as a NATO member was considered: “Despite Russia’s attempt to destabilise the country, the potential for resilience in Bulgaria exists, it is simply suppressed by the position of the country’s top political leadership. Russia’s technology to neutralise the Alliance’s allies from within will have its effect at some time X when Russia faces the need to take radical measures to establish full control of the Black Sea.”

On the eve of the October 31, 2019 meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Kyiv with the participation of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, the expert focused on Ukraine’s further steps in the context of concrete integration, with a view to resuming discussions on whether Ukraine should submit an application for a plan of action on NATO membership (MAP). “In our view, it should be understood that if such a request is submitted, the answer is easy to predict, as the position of France and Germany has not changed substantially in the last 11 years after the Bucharest Summit in 2008, changes have only taken place in the pro-Russian direction. We also see France’s position within the EU: a striking example is the blocking of the Western Balkans, which have already gained entry into the EU. France’s position in NATO is the same, but that does not mean that Ukraine should do nothing. In our view, it would be advisable that during the meeting of the North Atlantic Council by Ukraine under the three signatures of the President, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, and the Chairman of the CMU, a letter should be provided in which Ukraine would request the Alliance to comply with the provisions of the 2008 Bucharest MAP Declaration. That is, Ukraine should not act as a petitioner with the predicted outcome of the refusal, but we should remind the Alliance of its commitment in accordance with the Declaration of the Bucharest Summit of 2008.

Hanna Hopko, Member of Parliament of Ukraine of the 8th convocation, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (2014-2019), in her speech emphasised that the purchase of electricity in Russia threatens the Association Agreement with the EU. In the future, the Russian Federation will demand to forget the Stockholm decision on gas arbitration. She also drew attention to the Russian Federation’s inclination to destroy unity in NATO and the EU, the lack of adequate proactive actions by Ukraine to counteract Russia and the absence of a roadmap for the Alliance in light of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s visit to Ukraine.

Participants discussed issues of counteracting Russian aggressive actions in the Black Sea, enhancing the Alliance’s role in curbing the militarisation of the region by Russia, and developing cooperation between Ukraine and Romania for Black Sea stability and security.

Source: Centre for Global Studies “Strategy XXI”