Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey are full NATO members, Georgia and Ukraine are NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partners. The only littoral state not a NATO member or advanced partner is Russia. Non-recognized Abkhazia also is on the Black Sea. It would be an immediate target in NATO’s plans for the “liberation of occupied territories.” Moldova is also near the Black Sea, so a coordinated assault in the region would include Abkhazia, Crimea, Donetsk, South Ossetia and Transdniester.

NATO Ships Return to the Black Sea

Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) units have entered the Black Sea for the third time this year…

SNMCMG2, consists of Spanish flagship ESPS Rayo, Italian ship ITS Viareggio, and Turkish ship TCG Edincik. Romanian ship ROS Lt. Lupu Dinescu and Bulgarian ship BGS Shkval will join the group after they enter the Black Sea.

****

The third SNMCMG2 Black Sea deployment constitutes an important opportunity for interoperability and readiness enhancement with our Allies and partners. The deployment will include the port visits to Batumi, Georgia, after which there will be an exercise with the Georgian Coast Guard. The deployment will include a port visit to Samsun, Turkey.

****

The broader war theater.

With three Allied nations, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, and two regional partners, Ukraine and Georgia bordering the Black Sea, Standing Naval Groups presence in the region is a regular occurrence. While in the Black Sea, the group will also conduct maritime security patrols in international waters to enhance NATO maritime situational awareness between Allies and regional partners.

****

“…The three Allied and two partner Nations participating in this joint exercise strengthen NATO’s awareness and demonstrates our ability to secure the sovereign terrain of our great Alliance,” said U.S. Air Force Major General Phillip A. Stewart, Deputy Chief of Staff Strategic Employment, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. “Maritime patrols enhance interoperability between Allies and Partners. This activity demonstrates NATO’s commitment to Black Sea security….”