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Türkiye, Bulgaria and Romania start mine clearance operations in Black Sea

Monday, 1 July 2024, 13:30
Türkiye, Bulgaria and Romania start mine clearance operations in Black Sea
Turkish Navyâs minesweeper ship. Stock photo: Getty Images

Türkiye, Romania and Bulgaria commenced joint mine clearance operations in the Black Sea on Monday, 1 July, to improve the safety of shipping, in particular for Ukrainian grain exports.

Source: Bloomberg, as reported by European Pravda

Details: The Istanbul-led initiative is the first major joint action by Black Sea countries since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. It aims to clear mines drifting in some areas of the Black Sea resulting from the war.


Türkiye, Bulgaria and Romania signed an agreement to jointly combat naval mines in the Black Sea on 11 January this year.

The Bulgarian government has stressed that the group's activities will not be directed against any other country, and the Black Sea mine clearance operation is expected to help improve cooperation and good neighbourly relations between the participants.

Russia and Ukraine are key grain producers, and the war has threatened the safe passage of goods.


Last year, Kyiv initiated its own Black Sea export route following the collapse of the secure corridor agreement supported by Russia, Türkiye, and the United Nations. This move has significantly boosted exports and accelerated Ukraine's economic growth beyond forecasts despite the route remaining risky.

Ukraine's Infrastructure Ministry reported last week that since the maritime corridor commenced operations in August 2023, the country has exported 37.4 million tonnes of agricultural products from Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi ports.

Türkiye, Romania and Bulgaria are all NATO members. However, their shipping forces are managed outside NATO, in part to avoid escalation with Russia.


  • Since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Romanian, Bulgarian and Turkish military diving teams have regularly defused mines drifting in their waters.
  • Last October, it was first reported that the three countries were discussing the creation of a joint force to clear the Black Sea of mines.

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