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​New Task Group Allows to Significantly Reduce Threat in the Black Sea Amid russia’s Chaotic Mining of the Water Area

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Sandown-class minesweeper / Open sourc photo
Sandown-class minesweeper / Open sourc photo

Three NATO countries, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, signed a memorandum in Istanbul on Thursday, January 11, which starts a joint operation to clear the Black Sea

According to the agreement signed by the countries, an operational structure Mine Counter-Measures Task Group Black Sea (MCM Black Sea) will be created, which will deal with the issue of demining, primarily - protection against drifting mines.

"We jointly decided to sign a protocol between three countries in order to fight more effectively against the mine danger in the Black Sea by improving our existing close cooperation and coordination," the Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler said.

Read more: ​Ukraine Reveals One More Weapon of Naval Warfare in the Black Sea

In his turne Romanian Defense Minister Angel Tilvar stated: "The russian federation's aggressiveness and disregard for the norms of international law make the Black Sea not only a regional problem, but also a problem of global importance... I confidently expect the future participation of NATO's coastal partners, NATO's permanent naval groups and other allied states, which will allow to strengthen cooperation and operational interoperability in ensuring the security of the Black Sea and the Euro-Atlantic region."

Bulgarian Deputy Defense Minister Atanas Zapryanov said mines pose a "danger to ports, communication networks and key water infrastructure. It is in our interest and NATO’s interest to develop countermeasures against this danger."

New Task Group Allows to Significantly Reduce Threat in the Black Sea amid russia’s Chaotic Mining of the Water Area, MCM Black Sea, Defense Express
Romanian Defense Minister Angel Tilvar (R), Turkish Defence Minister Yasar Guler (C) and Bulgaria’s Deputy Defense Minister Atanas Zapryanov (L) signed an agreement to form a joint task force against floating mines in the Black Sea / Photo credit: Turkish Defence Ministry

On the part of Defense Express, we note that plans to start a joint operation between these countries were actively discussed as early as 2023, and the signing of the framework agreement is only the first step in the implementation of the plans.

As Defense Express reported, the joint forces of all three countries that can be involved in demining the Black Sea are about 20 minesweepers, the most advanced of which are Turkish Aydın-class ships in the amount of six units. In addition, Romania is also being reinforced by the British Sandown minesweepers, which are transferred to her after decommissioning from the Royal Navy.

New Task Group Allows to Significantly Reduce Threat in the Black Sea amid russia’s Chaotic Mining of the Water Area, Aydın-class minehunter vessels of the Turkish Navy, MCM Black Sea, Defense Express
Aydın-class minehunter vessels of the Turkish Navy / Photo credit: @YorukIsik

We would also like to remind you that the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine estimated the duration of demining the Black and Azov seas at 3-5 months for demining sea routes, but in general demining both seas may take 3-5 years.

Read more: ​What russia`s Black Sea Fleet Looks Like After Attack by Defense Forces of Ukraine