The BSWN held its second round of the Black Sea Experts NucTalks, entitled “Impact of War in Ukraine on Regional Nuclear Security and Nonproliferation Regime,” on October 19 during its first annual meeting (here we can add a link to the first meeting review). The four speakers from Ukraine, Georgia, Turkiye, and Belgium, made their presentations on the most relevant impacts of the war in Ukraine.

Dr. Polina Sinovets, Head of the Odesa Center for Nonproliferation presented “Scenarios for potential Russia’s nuclear weapons use: the BlackSea Region.” Dr. Sinovets shared information about Russian nuclear doctrines and their differences, emphasized basic principles of State Policy on Nuclear Deterrence, and concluded by naming implications of nuclear weapons use for the Black Sea region. Dr. Tamar Pataraia, Civil Council on Defense and Security, spoke about “The war in Ukraine and increased security risks for Georgia,” as Georgia faced Russian aggression in 2008 when Russia occupied 20 percent of Georgian territories. She mentioned that Georgia needs to better ensure its security for the time before it joins NATO.

Ali Alkis, a Ph.D. student at Hacettepe University and WINS Ambassador to Turkiye, delivered a speech on “Nuclear cooperation: symbol of Turkish-Russian cooperation”, mentioning Turkish history and approaches to nuclear energy, and the country’s upcoming first Akkuyu nuclear power plant. He emphasized that future cooperation with Russia is challenging, as it will cause even tighter dependence on Russia. Dr. Natalia Melnyk, Head of the Ukrainian Civil Society Hub, presented “EU-NATO views on security implications of the war in Ukraine on the Black Sea region,” speaking about the definitive unity of the West to support Ukraine, about the positive impact of sanctions and discussing the possibility of some of the Black Sea countries joining NATO. The NucTalks were moderated by Dr. Valeriia Gergiieva, a Visiting Fellow at the IFSH at the University of Hamburg and a Research Fellow of the Odesa Center for Nonproliferation.

The open discussion witnessed a deep involvement of all participants due to the significance of the topics presented. All participants agreed that Russian aggression against Ukraine violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of independent Ukraine and that it is crucial for Black Sea countries to cooperate and support each other, especially due to the energy crisis. There was resounding concern about the consequences of possible nuclear weapons use, such as environmental impacts, the end of the nuclear taboo, and high future proliferation risks. All participants and speakers reached one opinion – the importance of discussing current realities and of increasing awareness of people in the nuclear field.