The Perils of Black Sea Security
Eugene Kogan: The Perils of Black Sea Security, AIES Fokus 5/2022
The unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, 2022 has substantially changed the security situation around the Black Sea. The three NATO member states Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey have pursued a very different and distinct policy with regard to Russia. Bulgaria, as will be further presented, remains dependent on Russian gas and oil. Despite the recent Russian decision to halt gas exports to Bulgaria over the country's refusal to pay for supplies in roubles, Bulgaria did not buckle under pressure. Romania maintains a watchful eye after the Russian military operations along the Black Sea coast, in general, and the city of Odessa, in particular. Turkey maintains balanced relations with Russia and Ukraine. As a result, President Erdogan offered to mediate between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky; however, Erdogan's good services are either rebuffed or ignored by Putin. The Georgian government decided to keep the country neutral, not to antagonise Russia, and maintain a low profile with regard to the Russian war in Ukraine. Finally, the region's three NATO member states of Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey have until today been unable to create and implement a comprehensive Black Sea security strategy together with NATO aspirants Georgia and Ukraine to counter the challenges posed by Russia. Moscow, however, successfully implemented its divide and rule policy in the region that left the 3+2 in an awkward situation and not prepared for a war situation. As a result, other NATO member states stepped in and provided necessary military capabilities to Bulgaria and Romania, while supplying economic, humanitarian, and military assistance to Ukraine.