With its illegal annexation of Crimea and the following large-scale militarization of the peninsula, Russia has significantly magnified its military and other threats to Ukraine, to the countries of the Black Sea region, and to the European continent as a whole. The Centre for Defence Strategies’ report “A Storm Warning from Ukraine: A Major Threat to Europe in the Black Sea Region" discusses this in greater detail. Russia is capable of inflicting catastrophic damage to Ukraine even without the overt use of force from the sea or through combining a limited use of force with non-military tools. Russia is preparing for these scenarios and, in the meantime, it is systematically and consistently harming Ukraine’s national interests by de facto annexing the exclusive economic zone of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov; imposing its national legal regime on the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov, and the Kerch Strait; carrying out an economic suppression of the Ukrainian Azov region; creating artificial obstacles to freedom of navigation; jamming and spoofing communication and navigation systems; utilizing civilian infrastructure for military purposes; exploiting Ukraine’s natural resources; inflicting irreparable environmental damage; etc. All of this is happening in the foreground of the further militarization of Crimea, including a nuclear component, and the transformation of the peninsula into a territory of terror and unfreedom for Ukrainian nationals.
This study aims to provide an overview of the contemporary approaches to maritime security, particularly those that may be useful for building a model of maritime domain awareness and situational awareness for Ukraine with a view to enhancing maritime security as well as creating the preconditions for the de-occupation and reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories. The paper also contains policy recommendations for the Government of Ukraine.