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The Baltic-Black Sea defence alliance will complement the Crimean platform and protect Europe’s eastern borders.

On 23 August Volodymyr Zelenskyy suggested creating a security alliance between the countries that have access to the Baltic and Black Seas. Ukraine has come up with similar initiatives before: on 5 December 2014, the Alliance of Baltic-Black Sea Nations was established in Kyiv with the main goal of fighting against Russia’s imperial policy and liberating the occupied territories of Ukraine and Georgia. But given Putin’s full-scale war against Ukraine and the total militarisation of the Russian Federation, such a proposal takes on a completely different meaning: no country neighbouring Russia can feel safe anymore. This is the meaning of the proposal voiced by Zelenskyy. The Baltic-Black Sea defence alliance should strengthen the defence potential of the CCE countries (in fact, turning them into a “mini-NATO”) and anticipate potential risks and threats from Russia. The challenges posed by Putin to Europe necessitate the search for additional instruments to counter them. The creation of a new supranational association, which would include all CES countries together with Ukraine, could be just such an instrument, which would also strengthen the EU and NATO.

Russia’s occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014 launched a large-scale territorial expansion on the part of the Russian Federation, which in 2022 transformed into a full-scale war against Ukraine. The Ukrainian army managed to defend its country, liberating over 50% of the territory occupied since the invasion, but Russia still holds about 18% of Ukraine’s territory. Moreover, Putin does not intend to stop, and Russian politicians and war correspondents are no longer hiding their objective that underlying the so-called “SMO” there is a conventional war of conquest to occupy Ukraine and incorporate it into the Russian Federation. Putin is deliberately  encroaching on the territory of a sovereign state. This threat is also relevant to all CCE countries neighbouring Russia. Putin has hinted more than once that Russia is not averse to restoring its influence in those countries that were once part of the soviet socialist bloc. This was implied by the demand for NATO to retreat to the 1997 borders, which was voiced shortly before the invasion of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian army has managed to stop the Russian army, but this does not mean that the threat to Europe is over. As long as Russia holds on to the occupied territories of Ukraine, this is a dangerous geopolitical precedent. On 23 August, at the third summit of the Crimean Platform, Andrzej Duda said that Russia’s occupation of Crimea is not a regional but an international problem. In this regard, the creation of a defence alliance between Russia’s neighbouring states is inevitable. This alliance will organically complement the Crimean Platform and create a reliable security belt on Europe’s eastern borders after the liberation of Ukraine’s internationally recognised territories.

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