One of the objectives of Ukraine’s state policy is to ensure its development as a sea power by effectively utilizing its marine capabilities and maritime complex. In the foreign policy domain, Ukraine’s major priorities have been to contribute to multilateral cooperation, and even to apply Ukraine’s leadership ambitions in the Black Sea region by utilizing its favorable geopolitical and geo-economic position.
For decades however, Ukraine has not effectively capitalized on its regional cooperation potential due to its lack of objective conditions, and its political will. The “East or West” dilemma has permeated all spheres of Ukraine’s foreign policy, leaving the Black Sea an undervalued priority, and a blank spot on the map of foreign policy preferences. This in turn has affected the quality of bilateral relations between Ukraine and the South Caucasus, Turkey, as well as Romania and Bulgaria.
After the annexation of Crimea in March of 2014, and the outbreak of armed conflict in the east of Ukraine, room to fulfill the objectives of Ukraine’s Black Sea policy decreased dramatically. Ukraine’s direct material losses included the loss of key ports, the energy-rich Black Sea continental shelf, as well as military bases in Crimea. Interstate relations and integration processes in the Black Sea Ukraine’s traditional problem of a lack of resources, as well as the absence of a clearly defined, systematic vision of its role in the region, has hampered the development of its Black Sea coastal territory (Prichernomorye) and its Black Sea strategy. Currently, additional objective limitations arose. Ukraine de facto lost the longest coastline among Black Sea countries. Under Russia’s occupation of Crimea, Ukraine is unable to effectively exploit its transport and tourism potential, which represent the most promising areas for Black Sea regionalism