Strategic Trends

Black Sea Security Dynamics in the Age of Uncertainties

01 Jul 2024

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ISBN: 978-9948-784-00-3

AED 15

The security environment of the Black Sea region is complex and intertwined with historical rivalries, unresolved territorial disputes, energy geopolitics, and the competing strategic ambitions of regional and global powers. Russia’s geopolitical ambitions in the region, followed by Abkhazia, Georgia, Crimea, and Ukraine, have dramatically altered the security landscape, with its ongoing military build-up and assertive actions in the region posing a direct threat to regional stability. In addition, conflicts such as Azerbaijan-Armenia and Transnistria remain unresolved, fuelled by external actors and undermining efforts to build trust and cooperation.

The region’s energy resources, particularly Russia as a supplier and provider, create political and economic leverage, exacerbating dependencies and vulnerabilities.1 In addition, the Black Sea’s position as a vital maritime corridor between Europe, Asia, and the Middle East increases its geopolitical importance, attracting the interest of powers such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Turkey, and China. NATO’s increased presence in the region acts as a deterrent, while failed confidence-building measures between Russia and NATO have increased tensions and led to new wars and conflicts. New security challenges and opportunities for regional countries have also shaped domestic and foreign relations.

This new situation has also shaped relations with the Russian Federation. From this perspective, defining interests, complex relations, and where the Black Sea begins, and ends has also become complicated. This study describes security challenges using the Regional Security Complex Theory from the perspective of the Black Sea Rim, including several security challenges from neighbouring and non-neighbouring countries. It analyses political developments in the Black Sea region, focusing on interests, conflicting interests, and shared interests. The paper evaluates the countries bordering the Black Sea and those countries and associations with regional interests. The Black Sea region is defined as the Black Sea basin, focusing on geopolitical rivalry, military competition, energy security, regional conflicts, and the key actors involved in these issues.