ICYMI: Shaheen Renews Bipartisan Push to Establish U.S. Strategy Toward Black Sea Region
**As Chair of the Europe and Regional Security Cooperation Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Shaheen has long pushed for the prioritization amid Putin’s war in Ukraine**
(Washington, DC) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, recently reintroduced her bipartisan legislation with U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) that would direct the administration to develop a strategy toward the Black Sea Region, which she has visited numerous times in her capacity as chair of the SFRC Subcommittee that oversees U.S. policy toward Europe, in addition to her role as co-chair of the Senate NATO Observer Group.
Shaheen’s renewed effort comes amid increasing tensions between the United States and Russia in the Black Sea region after a Russian aircraft shot down a U.S. drone over the Black Sea last week.
Read more on Shaheen’s push in some of the recent coverage below:
- “This kind of behavior is not acceptable,” said Shaheen in a Tuesday interview. “The incident today just points out how important it is that we have a more comprehensive approach to the region that includes not just security, but economic and energy potential for the region.”
- The two senators on Wednesday are reintroducing bipartisan legislation that would direct the administration to develop a strategy for the region, which they said has increasingly become an “inflection point” for European and global security amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
- The New Hampshire Democrat, who last month visited Georgia and Romania, stressed the importance of working more closely with NATO and the European Union in the region, including strengthening economic ties. In Georgia, for example, officials pressed for a new “middle corridor” to bring energy supplies south through Georgia, instead of across Ukraine, she said.
- The legislation, which the two senators originally introduced in July, requires an interagency strategy within 180 days to increase military assistance and coordination with NATO and the EU; deepen economic times; strengthen democracy and economic security; and enhance security assistance with Black Sea countries.
- On Wednesday, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Mitt Romney reintroduced a bill that would direct the Administration to develop its own Black Sea strategy. The region includes key NATO allies like Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria, as well as aspiring members like Georgia and Ukraine. The senators argue the region is a lynchpin for global security, a fact that has been underscored by the ongoing violence against Ukraine, and Moscow’s destabilizing activities in Georgia and Moldova.
- The bill reintroduced Wednesday would direct the Administration to develop an interagency strategy in 180 days to increase military assistance and coordination with NATO, deepen economic ties, strengthen democracy, and enhance security assistance with Black Sea countries.
- “With Russia’s reckless behavior resulting in the downing of an American remotely piloted aircraft, we now have unsecured U.S. military hardware within Russia’s reach,” said Shaheen. “The U.S. previously had a presence in the Black Sea that might have allowed us to secure the crash site before the Russians, but now our presence is significantly reduced, and we are forced to defend our allies to assist in recovery efforts.”
- “It points to the lack of a comprehensive approach to a region that is important, not just to our allies and to the countries bordering the Black Sea, but it’s important to the United States’ security as well,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., told NBC News of America’s diminished military role in the area.
- Shaheen, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, and others said that this week’s drone incident highlighted that the U.S. needs to outline a plan for its approach to defending the Black Sea.
- “There’s been a great deal of bipartisan interest in it because — between the war in the Ukraine, this incident with the drones, what’s happening with the shipping lanes — it’s very clear how important the region is,” Shaheen said. “And most of the countries who border the Black Sea are our allies, and it’s important now for us to show how we support our allies.”