Three NATO Countries to Set up Black Sea Mine Clearance Unit – Media

Tuesday, 10 October 2023

Three NATO member states, Türkyie, Romania and Bulgaria, are discussing the creation of a special unit to clear the Black Sea of the mines which are drifting into their territorial waters due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Two anonymous officials told Bloomberg that the three states are still working on the details, but they are likely to set up the joint special unit as early as next month.

Even though the planned initiative is not a NATO operation, the joint demining forces will be the allies’ first major joint efforts in the Black Sea since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

The new forces must be completely peaceful and will not bring any additional NATO ships out to the sea, the two officials said.

One of the anonymous officials revealed that one of the goals of the mission is to demonstrate that the three countries are able to solve this problem themselves.

The Turkish government refused to comment, and the Romanian and Bulgarian Defence Ministries did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

The NATO allies have increased surveillance and intelligence in the region since the beginning of the war, but not naval activity.

Romanian, Bulgarian and Turkish diving teams have been regularly neutralising mines that have drifted into their territorial waters since the invasion started.

In September it was revealed that Bulgaria negotiated with NATO allies about how to respond to Russia’s partial blockade of its Black Sea exclusive economic zone.

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