Black Sea and Balkans Security Forum – September 3rd

Home / Events / Black Sea and Balkans Security Forum – September 3rd
Black Sea and Balkans Security Forum – September 3rd

LIVESTREAMING PANELS – Click on the title of each panel.

09.00 –  10.10 Panel VIIa. 

From Homo Sovieticus to Homo Putinus.  The Impact of the War on Russia and Its Neighbours 


The first panel of the second day was moderated by Amb. Igor Munteanu, former ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the United States. Titled “From Homo Sovieticus to Homo Putinus. The Impact of the War on Russia and Its Neighbors”, the panel had as guests Andrei Illarionov, senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington DC, and former economic adviser to President Vladimir Putin, Russia, Alexander Iskandaryan, director of the Caucasus Institute, Armenia and Dan Dungaciu, director of the Institute for Political Sciences and International Relations „Ion I.C. Brătianu” (ISPRI) and member of the Scientific Council, New Strategy Center.

In order to distinguish correctly between “Homo Sovieticus” and “Homo Putinus”, it is necessary to understand the differences between “post-Soviet society”, which has characteristics inherited from Soviet society, and “Putinist society”; in the former, power was in the hands of the party, proposing a foreign policy of brotherly relations with neighbouring countries. „Putinist society”, on the other hand, assumes that power lies in the hands of the so-called ‘Siloviki’ (FSB, political police, etc.), running a society without moral dimensions, proposing an imperialist-chauvinist foreign policy and imposing a higher level of societal oppression. Speakers also addressed the neo-imperialist concept of “historical Russia”, adopted by Putin since 2003, and its impact on Russian society, producing strong support for the Kremlin leader and his war. Other speakers described Putin as the result of a broader phenomenon rather than a mere causal factor, identifying a pattern of Russian behaviour originating in the 1990s. The discussion also touched on the issue of national identity in the post-Soviet space following the fall of the Soviet Union, distinguishing between the trajectory that different former Soviet bloc states have taken.


09.00 – 10.10 Panel VIIb. 

How Will the War in Ukraine Influence the Future European Security Architecture?
Post-War Order and Stability in the Wider Black Sea Region


Moderated by Antonia Colibășanu, Senior Associate Expert at New StrategyCenter and an Analyst at Geopolitical Futures, Romania, the panel How Will the War in Ukraine Influence the Future European Security Architecture? Post-War Order and Stability in the Wider Black Sea Region, was joined by Bruno Tertrais, deputy director of the Fondation pour la Recherche Strategique, Charles Powell, director of the Elcano Royal Institute, and Yordan Bozhilov, president of the Sofia Security Forum.

During the discussion, the panelists highlighted how the war in Ukraine has already redefined Europe’s security architecture, strengthening the European Union and NATO, a fact underlined by the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO and Denmark to the EU’s European Security and Defence Policy. Institutionally, the United Nations has had the most to lose by being almost absent from discussions on an eventual peace process.

Touching on the issue of the future peace process between Russia and Ukraine, the speakers underlined the difficulty of reaching a consensus because of the war crimes committed and the future war reparations for the reconstruction of Ukraine. In the future, relations between the West and Russia will not return to pre-war normal. However, depending on the Kremlin regime and its willingness to work together, there could be ad hoc cooperation initiatives in areas of common interest, such as climate change or food security.

10.25 – 11.45 Panel VIIIa. 

Strategic Infrastructure in the Context of the New Security Challenges.
Deterrence through Military Mobility and Investments in the Naval Domain


The panel entitled “Strategic Infrastructure in the Context of the New Security Challenges. Deterrence through Military Mobility and Investments in the Naval Domain” was moderated by Brigadier General (ret.) Hans Damen, member of the New Strategy Center International Consultative Board and former Head of the Taskforce Logistics / J4 of the Netherlands MOD, Netherlands. Speakers on the panel were LTG (ret.) Ben Hodges, former commander United States Army Europe, USA, Cătălin Podaru, General Manager, Leviatan, Romania, Adrian Florea, Development and Digital Transformation Director, Concelex, Romania, and Roland Briene, Commercial Director, Damen Naval, The Netherlands. 

In order to promote an effective policy of deterrence against Russia, Romania and the entire NATO Alliance must ensure the necessary infrastructure and adequate and flexible logistical preparedness. The development of civilian infrastructure, such as highways and airports, is also indispensable to make war logistics more dynamic and efficient, and this must be taken into account by the Romanian authorities. This is directly related to national security, and the bureaucracy behind these infrastructure projects, as well as transparency issues, can slow down the preparation of war-ready logistics.

These impasses can only be overcome through an honest dialogue between infrastructure companies and state authorities to identify and resolve logistical gaps. In Romania’s case, the Danube could play a key role in infrastructure, with the potential to connect the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to the Euro-Atlantic area. This would also make it easier to implement a Black Sea strategy, which is necessary as the Russian Black Sea fleet has had too much freedom of movement in the region.

10.25 – 11.45 Panel VIIIb. 

Defence Industry Cooperation in the Context of the War in Ukraine

“Defence Industry Cooperation in the Context of the War in Ukraine” was moderated by Colonel (ret.) Liviu Coșereanu, member of the Scientific Council of the New Strategy Center. Nicoleta Pauliuc, Chair, Committee on Defence and National Security, Senate, Romania, Justin Crump, analyst, CEO Sibylline Ltd, President of the Association of International Risk Intelligence Professionals (AIRIP), UK, State Secretary for Defence Industry, Ministry of Economy, Romania,  Cyrille Bret, Development Director, Naval Group, France, and Cristian Sfichi, Country Director, Thales Romania, Romania joined the discussion.

In the context of the need for European unity in the face of security threats from the East, and Romania’s objective to remain a point of stability on NATO’s Eastern Flank, military security becomes a priority. This leads Romania to make important choices about acquisition plans for the Romanian armed forces. Much more robust military capabilities are needed, given that one of the causes of the invasion of Ukraine was the West’s failure to deter such action, and to achieve them requires adaptable and appropriate solutions from the defence industry. Romania’s participation in European research and innovation investment is also vital. Speakers presented economic plans for the reorganisation of the national defence industry, and then addressed the role, contribution and future projects of international industrial partners present in Romania’s national security ecosystem in the context of supply chain disruptions.


10.25-11.45 Panel VIIIc. 

The War in Ukraine, Climate Change, Food Security and the Impact in the Black Sea Region and the Balkans

The panel entitled “The War in Ukraine, Climate Change, Food Security and the Impact in the Black Sea Region and the Balkans” was moderated by Gina Fîntîneru, Vice Rector, University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Romania. Participants in the panel were by Oksana Ishchuk, Executive Director, Centre for Global Studies Strategy XXI, Ukraine, Audit & Assurance Partner, Deloitte, Romania, Expert, New Strategy Center, Romania, Mr. Andrei Ursulescu, CEO, Scandia Food, Romania. 

In its illegal war against Ukraine, Russia is using the threat of famine as leverage in bilateral and multilateral relations. Russia’s approach is complex and goes beyond a blockade of Ukrainian ports. Russia has prevented the cultivation of significant Ukrainian agricultural land, while destroying irrigation and grain storage facilities. As a result, this year’s harvest will be 30-45% lower than last year’s, jeopardising the food security of both the Ukrainian population and other countries, particularly in Africa.

In the second part of the panel, private sector representatives gave an x-ray of the immense pressures private food companies are under, particularly in supply chains and energy prices. Shortening supply chains are inevitable at national level, and the lack of investment in agriculture has resulted in productivity well below that of Western countries, adding to private concerns about the resilience of the food market.


12.00-12.45 Panel IX. 

How can Putin be Defeated?
The Ukraine-West Strategy for Victory in the Russian-Ukranian War

The next panel focused on a discussion between Antonia Colibășanu, Senior Associate Expert at the New Strategy Center and Andrei Illarionov, Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington DC, and former economic policy advisor to President Vladimir Putin.

The panel sought answers to a question on everyone’s lips: How can Putin be defeated? According to the data we have, Ukrainian losses relative to Russian losses are between 3 and 4 to 1. Even so, the ratio of artillery forces is still colossal, with some artillery pieces being as much as 100 to 1 in Russia’s favour. Obviously, their quality plays a decisive role on the battlefield, but even so the gap will remain huge for the foreseeable future. Moreover, as of June, the Ukrainian army has lost about 10% of its equipment since the beginning of the invasion, which proves the necessary amount of equipment Ukraine needs to be able to continue to defend itself against Russia. So far, Western arms donations have been about $7.5 billion a month, compared with Russian spending of nearly $30 billion.

In the case of the war in Ukraine, it is important to note that this is an asymmetrical conflict. The Russian military still has enormous resources at its disposal, which will allow it to test Western resolve and ability to deliver the necessary equipment to Ukraine for many years to come.

13.00 – 14.15 Panel Xa. 

Lessons Learned from the War in Ukraine in terms of Strategic Communication.
Weaponized Narratives and the Effects of Disinformation

The panel was moderated by Radu Tudor, military analyst and journalist at Antena 3. He was joined by Dan Cărbunaru, Spokesperson, Government of Romania, Fabien Zamora, Agence France-Press, Andrei Țărnea, General Director, Communication and Public Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Romania, Jacek Dankowski, International Cooperation Coordinator, Defense 24 Poland, Brigadier General Constantin Spînu, Chief of the Public Relation Department, Ministry of National Defence, Romania and Krševan Antun Dujmović, Senior Associate, the Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO), Croatia.

During the panel, the experts analyzed the lessons learned from the first months of the war in Ukraine in terms of strategic communication, focusing on the narratives circulated online and the effects of disinformation. The speakers presented certain practical aspects regarding countering disinformation, identifying its different forms and main sources, from the perspective of public institutions, as well as the mass media. The phenomenon of fake news appears in the context of fundamental ideological fractures in society that produce a competition between different narratives that are antithetical, incongruent. The Russian Federation is not the cause of these fractures, but it is taking advantage of them through its actions of disinformation. Moscow thus enhances its soft power capacity in the relationship with the West, focusing especially on narratives related to the economy, energy, but also certain cultural aspects. A Western response should be based on the inclusion of the private sector and the media and civil society in anti-disinformation campaigns.


13.00 – 14.15 Panel Xb. 

Security Challenges in the Black Sea Area and the Response of the US Defence Industry.
Partnerships for a Safer Region

Moderated by Brigadier General (res.) Eduard Simion, Senior Associate Expert, New Strategy Center, the panel “Security Challenges in the Black Sea Area and the Response of the US Defense Industry. Partnerships for a Safer Region” had as speakers Major General Teodor Incicaș, head of the General Directorate for Armaments, Ministry of National Defense, Adrian Iacob, executive director of Lockheed Martin Global Inc, Adam Hodges, International Vertical Lift Sales & Marketing, Boeing, Paul Strebel, Director of International Business Development at Oshkosh Defense and Christophe Fontaine, Vice President of NATO/EU International Strategic Development, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., USA. Finally, Phillip Petersen, president of the New Generation Warfare Center USA, gave a presentation of the conclusions.

In order to understand the process of procurement of military equipment and especially aircraft, it is crucial to understand that the phrase “second-hand” is deficient, and that the correct one is “operational equipment in use”. Overall, the purchase of military equipment is more than a transaction, being an expression of the strategic partnerships that countries establish. Romania contributes to the security of the Black Sea by acquiring 7 PATRIOT systems, the second one to be put into operation in October. By 2024, Romania will also acquire coastal defense systems to balance the Russian posture in the Black Sea.

15.45-17.00 Panel XIa. 

The Ukranian Miracle! How Did They Hold the Line and  Stop the Invasion?

Panel XIa was moderated by Ambassador (Ret.) Gheorghe Magheru, member of the Scientific Council, New Strategy Center, and enjoyed the presence of the following panelists: Mr. Mykhailo SAMUS, Director, New Geopolitics Research Network, Ukraine, Ms. Oleksandra Tsekhanovska, Head of Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group, Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Ukraine, Mr. Iulian CHIFU, Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor, Romania and Mr. Adam Eberhardt, Director of the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), Poland. 

The real “miracle” of the Ukrainian resistance was the human factor, showing extraordinary resilience, which existed long before the invasion began on 24 February.  The ability of the Ukrainian people to withstand attacks stems from their ability to adapt and bounce back under difficult conditions. Compared to Russian and Belarusian resilience, which focus on the power of a single authoritarian leader, Ukrainian resilience is found in the whole of society, which is united by a strong desire for freedom and democracy. The importance of the Ukrainian armed forces and institutions, which continue to fight and resist Russian aggression, cannot be ignored. 

Thus, from the Ukrainian perspective, a solution to the war that can be considered acceptable to Kiev is a military defeat of Moscow. It should be pointed out that despite the fact that Russia has occupied some Ukrainian territories, they are difficult to preserve and truly integrate, as the case of Snake Island proves. The war has also proved that the Russian army is not as well prepared and equipped as was thought. 

The Russian aggression in Ukraine and Russia’s actions have proved that a complete defeat of Moscow is not only possible through a military defeat, but also through a complete collapse of the political system in Russia.

15.45-17.00 Panel XIb. 

Building a More Resilient Critical Infrastructure. Lessons for the Future

Panel XIb, chaired by Mr. Marcel Foca, Senior Expert of the New Strategy Center, Romania, had as speakers Mr. Raed Arafat, Secretary of State, Head of the Department for Emergency Situations, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Romania, BG Anton Rog, Director, CyberInt National Center, Romanian Intelligence Service, BG (Ret.) Daniel Ioniță, Cyber Security Manager, Cymed/Infoworld, Romania and Ms. Līga Raita Rozentale, Senior Director Cybersecurity Policy and Defence, European Government Affairs, Microsoft, Latvia.

The pandemic has demonstrated the risks of interdependence in critical sectors such as medical equipment manufacturing. Moreover, the broadening of the spectrum of digital services during the pandemic has also brought with it an increase in the space susceptible to cyber attacks. In achieving systemic cyber resilience, the weakest link is the human one, both in the implementation and usage process.
On a geopolitical scale, cyberspace has become a new front in the competition between states since the mid-2000s. This year, in the days leading up to the war in Ukraine, critical state infrastructures were targeted by more than 230 large-scale cyber attacks, in the attempt to destabilize the government in Kyiv. Last but not least, the panelists emphasized the need for integrated transversal efforts to achieve European sovereignty in the digital field.

17.15-18.30 Panel XII. 

Transatlantic Link and the NATO – EU Cooperation

Panel XII was chaired by Ms. Viktorija Starych-Samouliene, Co-Founder and Director of Strategy, Council on Geostrategy, UK, and benefited from the presence of the following speakers: Mrs. Simona Cojocaru, State Secretary, Ministry of National Defence, Romania,    Ambassador (Ret.) Tacan Ildem, Chairman, The Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM), Turkey, Brigadier General Radostin ILIEV, Director of the Defense Policy and Planning Directorate, Ministry of Defence, Bulgaria, Mr. Emmanuel Dupuy, President, Institute for European Perspective and Security, France and Mr. Jakub M. Godzimirski, Research Professor, The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI).


From Romania’s perspective, the consolidation and harmonization of the transatlantic relationship is of remarkable importance, something obvious from the dogma of Romania’s foreign policy, defined by the three pillars, which focus on membership in NATO, the EU and the strategic partnership with the US. NATO and the European Union have gone through a very tense period of the transatlantic relationship. From a Turkish perspective, the idea of Europe’s strategic autonomy is viewed positively as long as it is interpreted as a “strategic responsibility”. In this sense, the EU states should undertake more commitments. At the same time, the main pillar of European defense cannot be only NATO. The future of the transatlantic relationship and the possibility of a strong military and diplomatic alliance on both sides of the Atlantic was another topic of debate. Bulgaria also supports the resilience of the transatlantic alliance and the positive effect of its influence in its region. Finally, the speakers expanded their analysis, addressing the effect of global events and trends on transatlantic dynamics, such as Russia’s actions or the Chinese threat.

18.45-19.50 Panel XIII. 

Battlefields of the Future. To Adapt and Innovate in the Context of the New Generation Warfare.
A Political-Military Perspective

The final panel of the conference was moderated by Greg Melcher, Chief Operations Officer of the Center for the Study of New Generation Warfare, USA and featured as speaker Major General John Mead, Deputy Chief of Staff, JFC Naples, NATO, Paulo Lourenco, Director, National Defense Policy, Ministry of Defense, Portugal, Oleksandr V. Danylyuk, President of the Center for Defense Reforms, Ukraine, Major General Iulian Berdila, Chief of Staff of the Land Forces, Romania and Major General Pierre-Joseph Givre, Director of the Command Center for Doctrine and Education, Land Forces, France.

The need to increase the interoperability of NATO forces was driven by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Experts pointed out that the future of military planning will be defined by the concept of “multidomain design”, which assumes that adaptability and innovation are both goals and guiding principles. In the short term, it is of utmost importance that Russia’s military operation fails in order to prevent similar aggression by other revisionist states. To do this, the West must revive its military-industrial complex to support the Ukrainian military with the ammunition and equipment needed to repel the Russian invasion.

At the individual level, the battlefields of the future will be defined by the soldier of the future. Without a clear career path, with opportunities for advancement and development, deeply rooted in values, tomorrow’s theatres of war will look like the Russian offensive today: bereft of the soldiers and leaders needed to accomplish military objectives. Last but not least, the panelists pointed out that today’s leaders were trained in a completely different military environment, focused on missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, rather than conventional conflicts such as Ukraine.


The organizers thank you for your participation and interest and invite you to continue supporting New Strategy Center projects!