The Black Sea region is currently managing military pressure from Russia, the economic influence of China, and soft power efforts of the West, making it a stage for power competition. With COVID-19 exacerbating Ukraine’s political weaknesses and economic vulnerabilities, Russia and China are increasingly adopting a united front in the Black Sea. Such geopolitical changes in power distribution require more active presence and involvement of the U.S. in the Black Sea. This is not only to counterbalance the actions of Russia and China, but also to ensure a peaceful, stable, and democratic future for the region.

This report from Frontier Europe Initiative's Maryna Parfenchuk examines the consequences of the COVID-19 health crisis for Ukraine and implications for U.S. policy in the Black Sea region. It argues that with COVID-19, there is now a window of opportunity for the U.S. to strengthen its presence and establish leadership in the Black Sea through closer cooperation with Ukraine.

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Maryna Parfenchuk is a fellow with MEI's Frontier Europe Initiative. The views expressed in this report are her own. 

Photo by Pavlo_Bagmut/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images