Legislation comes on the heels of a Russian jet fighter forcing down a U.S. drone over the Black Sea
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) reintroduced their bipartisan legislation that would direct the Administration to develop a strategy toward the Black Sea region, which has increasingly become a critical inflection point for European and global security amid Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) are all original cosponsors of the bill.
“Russia’s recent provocation against a U.S. drone in the Black Sea underscores the need for a revamped strategy in the Black Sea region. We cannot leave it up to Putin—who chose to invade Ukraine and pursue other forms of aggression in the region—to define the rules of the Black Sea. It’s critical that the Biden Administration develops a robust Black Sea strategy to strengthen the coordination between the U.S., NATO, and our Black Sea partners,” said Senator Romney.
“As Vladimir Putin wages war in Ukraine, he has already proven his ambitions to extend Russia’s malign influence to the Black Sea region,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’ve met with our partners in the region and they echo the importance of developing a U.S. strategy toward the Black Sea so we can strengthen our alliances and enhance economic relations that are pivotal to staving off an increasingly belligerent Putin. As the U.S. continues to aid our Ukrainian partners on the frontlines, we need to look ahead and make investments in vulnerable areas where Russia is actively sowing discord and hoping to turn to next. Our bipartisan bill would deliver that strategy and strengthen the relationships in the region that we need to defend our values and our security.”
Specifically, the Romney-Shaheen legislation would do the following:
- Underscore the importance of the Black Sea region for US national security, especially in light of Russia’s further unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
- Call for a more robust foreign policy toward the Black Sea region, including increased advocacy between the U.S., NATO and EU, and bolster economic ties between the U.S. and the Black Sea region.
- 180 days following passage of legislation, require an interagency strategy to increase military assistance and coordination with NATO and the EU, deepen economic ties, strengthen democracy and economic security and enhance security assistance with Black Sea countries.
- Romney and Shaheen secured language in the FY2023 government funding bill and the FY2023 national defense bill to underscore the importance of the Black Sea region and to require a strategy from the Department of State toward the Black Sea region. They first introduced the Black Sea Security Act in July 2022.
Text of the legislation is available here.