How has the energy security of the Baltic Sea region evolved since Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, and how can we secure these and other vital trading and supply networks in this new age of geopolitical competition and grey-zone conflict? This panel will discuss how the Baltic’s energy security has been challenged since 2022, and explore how countries across the region have had to adapt their energy consumption and supply habits in light of the changing strategic landscape. It will also investigate the historic and current role of navies in protecting trade and general commercial activity in the region. Join us as we hear from a distinguished panel of academic experts and senior naval officers to discuss this important and timely topic.

This event is organized in partnership with the Royal Navy and Council on Geostrategy, and is one of three official side events as part of the First Sea Lord’s Sea Power Conference 2024. 


Dr Sidharth Kaushal is a Senior Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) specialising in sea power and missile defence. His research at RUSI covers the impact of technology on maritime doctrine in the 21st century and the role of sea power in a state’s grand strategy. Dr Kaushal holds a doctorate in International Relations from the London School of Economics, where his research examined the ways in which strategic culture shapes the contours of a nation’s grand strategy.

Commodore Andy James currently serves as a Deputy Director within the Defence Nuclear Organisation in London. He has over 25 years’ experience in the Reserves and the Royal Navy. His early career was focussed on seagoing roles in operational submarines deployed around the world. Since then, Commodore James has served on the staff at Britannia Royal Naval College and in headquarters roles, including at US Central Command, twice in Navy Command Headquarters, in UK Strategic Command and now in three different roles in the Ministry of Defence. He has an undergraduate engineering degree from Edinburgh University and post graduate qualifications including a Masters in International Security from Massey University, New Zealand and an MBA from Cranfield University. Commodore James is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology and was a First Sea Lord Fellow from 2022 to 2024.

Dr Izabela Surwillo is a Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), where her research focuses on international relations and energy security in the Baltic Sea region and Central and Eastern Europe. Dr Surwillo’s current work analyses the development of new energy infrastructure projects in the Baltic Sea region, and what role scientific knowledge and technical data play in the decision-making process and public communication around these projects. She also studies low-carbon energy transitions and wider political developments in Poland, Ukraine, and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Dr Surwillo holds a PhD in International Relations from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

Captain Brian Trim serves as Secretary to the Chiefs of Staff in the Ministry of Defence. He has over 30 years of experience in the Canadian, Australian, and British navies. A deep specialist in navigation, Captain Trim served extensively at sea until 2015 when he took up shore-based operational roles. He has an MA from King’s College London (War in the Modern World) and an undergraduate degree from St Mary’s, Halifax. Captain Trim completed an MPhil in Politics and International Studies at Cambridge (Clare Hall) last year as the Navy’s Mountbatten Fellow.

Dr Katja Yafimava is a Senior Research Fellow in the Gas Research Programme of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES). She has been an expert at the UNECE Group of Experts on Gas since January 2015, and was an expert at the EU-Russia Gas Advisory Council from 2012-16. Her main research areas include EU pipeline gas and LNG regulation, regulation of decarbonisation, and transit security of Russian gas exports to Europe. Dr Yafimava holds a DPhil in Geography and an MPhil in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Oxford.


Trevelyan Wing is a Baltic Fellow at the Centre for Geopolitics and a Centre Researcher at the Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance (CEENRG). His research focuses on the transition to net zero and evolving energy security issues. He is the recipient of a DAAD award from the German government and is a former Research Associate of the University of Heidelberg and Zukunftskolleg Fellow of the Heidelberg Center for the Environment. A native of New England, Trevelyan holds a BA from Dartmouth College, an MPhil from the University of Oxford, and is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge.

This event will be followed by a drinks reception.


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