Valeri R. Ratchev (Colonel ret.) is currently a security and defense observer, international consultant, and university lecturer. He provides consultancy, feasibility research and professional development training to NATO, OSCE, and DCAF projects in Ukraine and several other East European countries. He retired from the Army in 2005, after a 34-year career, and moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the ambassador-at-large of Bulgaria to Iraq. He ended his public service as chief of staff to Bulgarian defense and foreign affairs ministers (2009-2013).
Executive Summary The Black Sea is the region most severely affected by the tensions between the Russian Federation and the Transatlantic alliance. An arc of conflicts, extending from Moldova through