First Black Sea Security Conference of the International Crimea Platform in Bucharest
April 12, 2023, 20:30

Ways of de-occupying Crimea and the future of the temporarily occupied peninsula: results of day one of Black Sea Security Conference

We have gathered experts’ opinions and expectations from the first day of the Black Sea Security Conference, which kicked off in Bucharest today.

Alina Frolova, Deputy Chairperson at the Centre for Defense Strategies, said that the conference is taking place within the framework of the Crimea Platform. Together with the Romanian side, as a Black Sea country, they prepared a two-day event-heavy conference featuring expert discussions and discussion panels with the sole purpose of developing an effective response mechanism to russia’s aggression in the Black Sea region, which poses a danger to the whole world.

“The security of the Black Sea is a highly relevant topic, because this region plays a major role in the security of the world community. russia, in almost ten years of the occupation of Crimea, turned it into a constant source of danger. Military actions, starvation threat, mining of the sea, environmental problems are the new realities of the Black Sea region. We have to use the example of the Black Sea to solve the problem of russia’s aggression and extrapolate the result on the security of the whole of Europe,” she noted.

Andriy Klymenko, Head of the Monitoring Team of the Black Sea Institute of Strategic Studies, said that for a long time, the international community hasn’t paid much attention to the Black Sea, although Ukrainian experts have repeatedly urged to consider the potential danger of russia.

“The russian federation, immediately after the occupation of Crimea, immediately relocated a large number of modern missile systems to the peninsula. Militarization of occupied Crimea was number one for the invader. According to preliminary estimates, the number of russians troops there was 50,000 people, which indicates a powerful offensive potential. Therefore, without the de-occupation of Crimea, all talks about the Black Sea security are meaningless,” the expert pointed out.

According to him, in the future, Crimea must become not only a recreation area, but also a well-protected military base, which will become a guarantee of security in the region.

Andriy Ryzhenko, Expert at the Centre for Defense Strategies, captain 1st rank in reserve, spoke about the research presented at the first panel.

“In the research, we paid special attention to bilateral cooperation between Ukraine and Romania in matters of the Black Sea security. We have long implemented the practice of joint training. And now, we see prospects for cooperation and revitalization of ports, sea transportation and development of minerals. We also covered the development of cooperation with the Baltic countries and Norway, because russia built bastions similar to temporarily occupied Crimea next to these countries as well,” the expert said.

Olha Skrypnyk, Head of the Board of the Crimean Human Rights Group, pointed out that the aggression Ukraine is fighting today started with the temporary occupation of Crimea. According to her, Black Sea security affects the security of the entire region: “If we do not resolve the issue of the consequences of the occupation of Crimea, we should not even dream about the security in the region. During these 9 years of occupation, our peninsula became a platform for new methods of information warfare, which affects absolutely everyone, even those countries that do not participate in the conflicts. russia will try to break the system of international agreements through occupied Crimea, and we must be ready for this.”

Yevgenia Gaber, Deputy Director of Hennadii Udovenko Diplomatic Academy Of Ukraine, noted that no one will raise the issue of the Black Sea and the region security for Ukraine: “At this point, we must talk not only about how Ukraine will return its territorial integrity to the borders of 1991, but also about ensuring such a security system in the Black Sea region that will make repeated acts of aggression by russia impossible.”

The conference will continue tomorrow with politicians joining the panels.

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