Joint demining op in Black Sea to begin next month

Turkish, Romanian and Bulgarian forces will commence operations to remove mines from the Black Sea under an agreement ratified earlier this year, the Turkish ambassador to Romania has announced.

"In July, Turkish, Romanian and Bulgarian warships will launch a joint operation to counter the mine threat in the Black Sea. Undertaking such an endeavor necessitates collaboration with nations to which you are profoundly allied, viewing them as strategic partners," Özgür Kıvanç Altan stated during an event in the northwestern border province of Edirne on June 11.

The three countries signed the agreement in January, aiming to ensure safe waters amid Russia's war in Ukraine. The Russian navy mined Ukraine's Black Sea coastline in the early stages of its invasion two years ago.

Some of the mines have since washed up in the waters of the three countries, endangering shipping and complicating Ukraine's efforts to break through a Russian naval blockade.

A total of four vessels will be deployed in the Black Sea, with each ship dedicated to mine countermeasure operations from Türkiye, Romania and Bulgaria and an additional command and control vessel. The Turkish sources earlier noted that the initiative is exclusively open to the naval forces of the three coastal allied nations.

The ambassador also noted that the bilateral relations between Türkiye and Romania encompass a large number of strategic collaborations across various domains, he said.

"We operate conjointly within NATO, conducting numerous exercises together. Our deployment of four F-16 fighter jets to safeguard Romanian airspace for a span of four months is a testament to our camaraderie. This is not a gesture we extend to every nation; we dispatch our pilots selectively,"...

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