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Romania, Turkiye, Bulgaria to Clear Ukrainian Mines in Black Sea

Romania, Turkiye and Bulgaria plan to sign a deal in January on a joint plan to clear the Ukrainian mines floating in the Black Sea as a result of the war in Ukraine, Turkish Defence Minister Yasar Guler said on Saturday, December 16, quoted by Reuters.

Black Sea states Romania, Turkiye, and Bulgaria met officials from Georgia, Poland and Ukraine in April 2022 to discuss clearing the mines after Russia invaded Ukraine. The mines were left floating near the Ukrainian harbours to prevent Russian navies from docking. Unfortunately, lots of them were left afloat, and now the mines endanger the marine transport in the Black Sea.

In August this year, such a Ukrainian mine exploded when hitting a dam in Costinesti, Romania. Fortunately, no casualties resulted in the incident, but other civilian vessels navigating the Black Sea didn’t have the same luck.

Speaking to reporters at a meeting in Ankara, Guler said the “Trilateral Initiative” would only include Romania, Turkiye, and Bulgaria for now, and their defence ministers planned to hold a signing ceremony in Istanbul on Jan. 11.

Due to the Ukraine-Russia war, there are mines placed in both Ukrainian and Russian ports. These untangle sometimes and reach our straits due to the current. Our mine-clearing vessels will carry out constant patrols to the point where Romania’s sea borders end.

Turkish Minister Yasar Guler on the ongoing operations of the Turkish Navy

There are no official statistics on the number of mines floating in the Black Sea, but experts say there could be tens of them. The mission the three countries assume in January will make the Black Sea navigation safer in the coming months.

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