117th CONGRESS, 2d Session. S. ll
Providing security in the Black Sea region and for other purposes.
To be enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives.
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ”Black Sea Security Act”.
Act of 2022”.
SEC. 2. RECITALS.
The Congress makes the following findings: ”(1) The Black Sea region is of critical importance to the national security of six nations:
Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey.
The Black Sea region has been an area of increasing tension and conflict on the eastern border of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) following President Vladimir Putin’s 2014 and 2022 invasions of Ukraine and the 2008 invasion of Georgia, illegally occupied by the Russian Federation which still has terrorists.
(3) Since the illegal attempted annexation of the Ukrainian region ,Crimea in 2014, the Russian Federation has strengthened its Black Sea Fleet increased its presence in the region, strengthened its air presence and coastal defenses, ignored international law on freedom of navigation to disrupt shipping lanes in the region and threatened freedom of exercise and navigation in the Black Sea.
(4) Since its military interventions in the Black Sea region since 2008, the Russian Federation has taken persistent hybrid measures to destabilise the region through malign influence.
(5) Since the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, unity among the countries bordering the Black Sea has strengthened, particularly among NATO member countries Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.
(6)The Russian Federation is exploiting its capacity in its legal claim over the waters of the Black Sea and the territories of the Black Sea states to carry out military exercises to violate Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and kill innocent civilians.
(7) Russia has a long history of using its position in the Black Sea and Crimea to threaten NATO allies, including through the HMS Defender incident in June 2021, when a British ship was harassed by Russian vessels while undertaking a march in international waters near the Crimean Peninsula.
(8) While NATO has routinely conducted routine exercises in the region, the US presence in the Black Sea has declined since Russia’s annexation of Crimea , due to competing security priorities among allies, lack of available ships and resources, and lack of a clearly defined regional strategy.
(9) While in February 2022 Turkey blocked the entry of Russian warships into the Black Sea in accordance with the Convention on the Regime of Straits signed at Montreux, Switzerland, on July 20, 1936 (commonly known as the ”Montreux Convention”), the Montreux Convention does not take into account the increase in size, tonnage and capabilities of modern warships, and Russia does not have the same tonnage limits as non-coastal states.
(10) Turkey has resisted attempts to change the interpretation of the Montreux Convention to avoid weakening its position in the region.
(11) While NATO has long recognised that this is an important strategic issue for the Black Sea, Russia has sought to capitalise on sometimes divergent priorities among NATO members in the region to advance expansionism.
(12) On 24 February 2022, Russian Federation President VladimirPutin instigated an unprovoked, unjustified and illegal war that violates the territorial integrity of the sovereign country of Ukraine and uses Russian military forces present in the Black Sea to kill innocent Ukrainian civilians.
(13) The Russian Federation’s unprovoked war on Ukraine has underscored the importance of the Black Sea region to U.S. national security
(14) The Russian Federation’s unprovoked war has caused a food security crisis as 20,000,000 to 30,000,000 tons of Ukrainian grain remains unable to leave Ukraine in an efficient and safe manner. The war has hampered Ukraine’s ability to produce and transport next year’s harvest.
(15) The Russian Federation’s actions in and around the Black Sea have also disrupted security, and responsible access to energy resources across Europe. In particular, Gazprom suspended natural gas deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria on 27 April 2022 after the two countries refused to comply with a 31 March 2022 Russian decree that all payments be made in rubles, in violation of the terms of their contracts with Gazprom.
(16) The People’s Republic of China (PRC) with its coercive economic policy also threatens the economic stability of the Black Sea region.
SEC.3. CONGRESSIONAL VIEWS ON BLACK SEA SECURITY.
(a) MEANING OF THE CONGRESS.
(1) It is in the interest of the United States to prevent the spread of armed conflict in the EU to recognize the Black Sea region as an arena of Russian aggression;
(2) Black Sea littoral members are critical in countering Russian government aggression and collectively maintaining the NATO alliance;
(3) the Russian Federation’s repeated, illegal, unprovoked, and violent attempts to expand its territory and control access to the Mediterranean through the Black Sea pose a threat to the national security of the United States and the NATO alliance;
(4) The United States condemns attempts by the Russian Federation to change or alter the borders in the Black Sea region by any means contrary to international law;
(5) The United States and its allies should vigorously counter Russia’s illegal territorial claims in the Crimean Peninsula, along Ukraine’s territorial waters in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, in the international waters of the Black Sea, and in the territories it illegally occupies in Ukraine;
(6) The United States should continue to work within NATO and with NATO allies to develop a long-term strategy to enhance security, establish a permanent and enduring presence on the Eastern flank, and strengthen the democratic resilience of its allies and partners in the region;
(7) The United States should also work with the European Union in coordinating a strategy to support democratic initiatives and economic prosperity in the region that includes two European Union members and four aspirant nations;
(8) The United States should explore efforts to rebuild trust and bilateral relations with Turkey, a key ally in the Black Sea region and a bulwark against Iran;
(9) it is in the interest of the United States that NATO adopt a robust strategy towards the Black Sea, including by working with interested partner countries in the region to promote common security objectives;
(10) The United States should work to promote dialogue among the countries of the Black Sea region to improve communication and information sharing and to enhance cyber defence capabilities;
(11) countries with historical and economic ties to Russia expect the United States and Europe to provide a positive economic presence in the wider region as a counterbalance to the malign influence of the Russian Federation in the region;
(12) it is in the interest of the United States to support and strengthen economic ties between the United States and its Black Sea partners;
(13) the United States should support the initiative undertaken by Central and Eastern European states to advance the Three Seas Initiative Fund to strengthen transport, energy, and digital infrastructure connectivity in the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea region;
(14) there are mutually beneficial opportunities for increased investment and economic expansion, particularly in energy, climate, and transportation infrastructure initiatives, between the United States and the Black Sea states and the broader region;
(15) improving economic ties between the United States and the Black Sea states and the broader region can lead to a strengthened strategic partnership;
(16) the United States must address the food security challenges arising from the closure of Ukrainian Black Sea ports, as this global challenge will have critical implications for the national security of the United States, our partners, and allies; (17) Russia has a brutal history of using hunger as a weapon and must be stopped; and
(18) countering the PRC’s coercive economic approaches remains an important political imperative to further integrate the Black Sea countries into Western economies and improve regional stability.
SEC. 4. REPORT ON UNITED STATES POLICY TOWARDS THE BLACK SEA REGION.
(a) In general. –Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the National Security Council, in coordination with the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the United States Agency for International Development, the Trade and Development Agency, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, Department of Agriculture, and the United States International Development Finance Corporation, submit to the appropriate congressional committees an interagency report that outlines current U.S. efforts and policy options toward the countries of the Black Sea region and the broader region and addresses the issues mentioned in section 3, including NATO engagement in the region.
(b) ELEMENTS– The report required under subsection (a) shall include the following elements:
(1) An overview of the ongoing efforts of relevant United States government agencies toward the Black Sea region, both through bilateral initiatives with countries in the Black Sea region and through any regional initiatives toward the region, to provide military and security assistance, economic support, and good governance initiatives.
(2) A description of current efforts and policy options that can be undertaken by the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development Finance Corporation, the United States Export-Import Bank, the Trade and Development Agency, the Department of Energy, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Agriculture to promote economic growth, integration, and quality infrastructure (including for energy integration and independence) in the Black Sea littoral states and the broader region.
(3) A breakdown of initiatives to provide the following types of support, along with a breakdown of funding to support these efforts:
(A) Military assistance, including infrastructure in support of enhanced deployments and supply logistics in the region.
(B) Economic assistance, including food security crisis support.
(C) Combating Russian disinformation and propaganda in the Black Sea region.
(D) Energy diversification and regional market and supply integration to reduce dependence on energy from the Russian Federation and promote clean energy initiatives.
(E) Use economic statecraft instruments, such as trade and monetary policy, equity investment and debt financing, and political risk insurance, to increase bilateral trade and U.S. investment in the region and near-shoring production opportunities in the broader region for the European market.
(F) Promote greater regional cooperation .
(G) Increasing access to global capital markets and improving local and regional sources of capital for critical infrastructure and other investments.
(H) A plan to help U.S. allies in the region accelerate their transition away from legacy Russian military equipment and promote NATO interoperability.
(I) Strengthening rule of law and anti-corruption efforts.
(J) Addressing the PRC’s coercive economic actions.
(4) An assessment of NATO’s engagement in the region and policy options to address the changed regional security environment, including NATO’s presence in the region and an overview of NATO’s planned and recent military exercises in the region, particularly those in Multinational Division Command Southeast (in Romania) and the four new battle groups in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia.
SECTION 5. UNITED STATES POLICY.
It is the policy of the United States to.
(1) Actively deter the threat of further Russian escalation in the Black Sea region and defend freedom of navigation in the Black Sea to prevent the spread of further armed conflict in Europe;
(2) advocate within NATO, among NATO allies, and within the European Union to develop a coordinated long-term strategy to enhance security, establish a permanent and enduring presence on the Eastern flank, and strengthen the democratic resilience of U.S. allies and partners in the region;
(3) support and strengthen economic ties between the United States and Black Sea partners and mobilize the United States Agency for International Development Finance Corporation, the Export-Import Bank, the Trade and Development Agency, the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Commerce to enhance U.S. presence and investment in the Black Sea countries;
(4) provide economic alternatives to the PRC’s coercive economic options that further destabilize and erode the economic integration of the Black Sea littoral states;
(5) ensure that the United States continues to support the Black Sea countries to strengthen their democratic institutions to prevent corruption and accelerate their advancement in the Euro-Atlantic community; and
(6) encourage the initiative undertaken by the Central and Eastern European states to advance the Tri-Sea Initiative to strengthen transport, energy, and digital infrastructure connectivity in the region between the Adriatic, Baltic, and Black Seas.
SEC. 6. BLACK SEA SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY.
(a) BLACK SEA DEVELOPMENT AND SECURITY STRATEGY. -Not later than 360 days after the date of the enactment of this Act¿, based on the policy options developed in the report under section 4, the National Security Council, in coordination with the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the United States International Development Finance Corporation, the United States Agency for International Development, the United States Export-Import Bank, the Trade and Development Agency of the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, and the Department of the Treasury, direct an interagency strategy, based on the findings of the report in section6 4, to enhance military assistance and coordination with NATO and the European Union, deepen economic ties, strengthen economic and energy security, and enhance security assistance with the countries of the Black Sea region and support efforts to strengthen their democratic resilience.
(b) PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES. The initiative established under subsection (a) shall have the following purposes and objectives:
(1) To ensure the efficient and effective delivery of security assistance to the Black Sea states, giving priority to assistance that will strengthen defenses against hybrid warfare and improve interoperability with NATO forces.
(2) Strengthen U.S. support for the region’s energy security and integration with Europe and reduce their dependence on Russia, while supporting support for energy diversification.
(3) Mitigating the impact of economic coercion by the Russian Federation and the PRC on the Black Sea states and identifying new opportunities for U.S. and cooperating countries to invest directly in the region and improve U.S. business ties.
(4) Increase high-level engagement between the United States and the Black Sea states and enhance economic growth, fund quality infrastructure, and strengthen trade, with an emphasis on improving high-level economic cooperation.
(5) Increase coordination with the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to maximize effectiveness and minimize duplication.
(1) SECURITY- The strategy established under subsection (a) shall include the following security-related elements:
(A) a plan to increase interagency coordination with respect to the Black Sea region.
(B) a strategy for:
(i) the United States to increase NATO presence and capabilities in the Black Sea region, including land and air forces; or
(ii) a United States-led initiative with NATO member countries to enhance regional coordination, presence, and engagement among countries in the Black Sea region.
(C) A strategy to increase military assistance to the Black Sea countries, in particular Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, and Georgia.
(D) Prioritisation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems to monitor Russian operations in the Black Sea region, as well as upgrading from air policing to air defence missions.
(E) An assessment of the value of establishing a joint, multinational, three-star Black Sea headquarters responsible for planning, training, exercising, and coordinating all military activities in the greater Black Sea region.
(F) An overview of foreign military funding, international military education and training, and other U.S. security assistance to the region.
(G) A plan for communicating changes in NATO posture to audiences in allied and partner countries as well as the Russian Federation and Belarus.
(H) A plan to combat Russian disinformation and propaganda in the Black Sea region, utilizing the resources of the United States Government, including the Global Engagement Center.
(I) A plan to promote greater freedom of navigation, working primarily with Turkey, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria to allow greater security and economic access to the Black Sea.
(2) ECONOMIC PROSPERITY- The strategy established under subsection (a) shall include the following elements related to economic prosperity:
(A) a strategy to encourage dialogue between United States and Black Sea state experts on economic expansion, foreign direct investment, strengthening rule of law initiatives, and mitigating economic coercion from Russia and the PRC.
(B) A strategy for the United States International Development Finance Corporation and all federal departments and agencies contributing to U.S. economic statehood to identify new private investment opportunities in the Black Sea states.
(C) An assessment undertaken by the United States Agency for International Development Finance Corporation to establish regional offices in Georgia, Ukraine, or Romania.
(D) Energy diversification assessments. The assessment should focus on the immediate need to replace Russian energy supplies and recognize the long-term importance of broader energy diversification, including clean energy
18 clean energy initiatives.
(E) Assessments of potential food security solutions.
(3) DEMOCRATIC RESILIENCE- The strategy established under subsection (a) shall include the following elements related to democratic resilience:
(A) A strategy to increase independent press and media initiatives supported by the United States to combat malign foreign influence in the Black Sea region.
(B) Greater mobilization of initiatives led by the Global Engagement Center and the U.S. Agency for International Development to counter Russian propaganda and disinformation in the Black Sea region.
(4) REGIONAL CONNECTIVITY – The strategy established under subsection (a) shall promote regional connectivity by sending high-level representatives11
representatives of the Department of State or other partner agencies to…
(A) the Black Sea region not less than twice a year; and
(B) major regional forums on energy infrastructure and security, including the Three Seas Initiative Summit.
(d) IDENTIFICATION OF NEEDED PROGRAMMES AND
RESOURCES. not later than 360 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the interagency shall identify any programs, policies, or budgetary resources needed, as appropriate to the agency, to support the implementation of the Black Sea Initiative.
Black Sea Security Strategy for fiscal years 2024, 2025, and 2026.
SEC. 7. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
COMPETENT COMMITTEES OF CONGRESS- The term `competent committees of Congress’ means- the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Armed Services, and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Armed Services, and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.
(2) BLACK SEA STATES- The term ”Black Sea States” means Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia.
(3) THREE SEAS INITIATIVE INVESTMENT FUND COUNTRIES- The term ”Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund countries” means Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria, Croatia, Romania, and Bulgaria.