The Battle for the Black Sea! The Importance of Freedom of Navigation and Energy Stakes

The Russian Ukrainian War is causing tremors far beyond the military front lines. Major food and supply chain disruptions, hybrid aggression against democratic countries, continuous violation of internationally recognized freedoms of navigation, trade and development of resources in exclusive economic zones, hegemonic militarization by Russia of an entire Black Sea and tangible risks of contagion among neighboring countries, are some of the topics that are addressed in this paper.

Apart from its relevance as a gateway to Asia and the Middle East, the authors emphasize the significant potential that the Black Sea region has in terms of supply routes, energy and natural resources potential that can contribute to progress and economic security for the entire European continent. 

The region has become the factual expression of the clash between autocracies and democracies, of aggressive powers aspiring to take leadership in a multipolar world and a geopolitical laboratory of how the “new multipolar world” imagined by rising autocracies would look like. Being an existential threat to European security, aggressive conduct in the Black Sea must therefore be suppressed at all cost. Strengthening the economic and military security posture of NATO, EU in the region and that of Black Sea riparian states like Romania, must be a necessary step towards the goal of ending the war and assisting in the rebuilding of Ukraine and its admission to the Euro Atlantic community. The US needs a strategy dedicated to the Black Sea, which for the first time determines a long-term and predictable vision of the United States towards this region, so vulnerable, but at the same time, so important for global connectivity, energy, food security and trade.

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