Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine poses a critical threat to the security of the entire Black Sea region, with vast consequences to food and energy security, freedom of navigation, and the global economy. In addition, tensions in the Western Balkans further complicate efforts to safeguard stability in the transatlantic security environment. To exacerbate the situation, Russia continues to use energy coercion and manipulation to its advantage, coupled with the proliferation of Russian disinformation and other forms of malign influence, creating a significant challenge for Bulgaria and other countries in the region.
As noted in the Atlantic Council’s newly launched Black Sea Security Strategy, the Euro-Atlantic community must anchor the Black Sea region into its security architecture by enhancing its protections of critical infrastructure, food and energy security, and military capability. Bulgaria’s strategic position on the Black Sea, commitment to security in the Western Balkans, and reinforced partnerships with its neighbors fortify both Europe and NATO’s collective defenses. Bulgaria, which celebrates being a member of NATO for twenty years in April 2024, can play an important role in this regard, strengthening NATO’s broader defense and deterrence of the Eastern Flank and countering Russia’s escalatory actions in the region.
To discuss these issues and more, the Atlantic Council's Scowcroft Center’s Transatlantic Security Initiative and the Europe Center welcome Minister of Defense of Bulgaria Todor Tagarev.
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 01/10/2024