May 18, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Russia’s partial blockade of the Black Sea, Bulgaria claims provocation


Russia has announced the closure of part of the Black Sea to ships due to military exercises. Bulgaria is holding talks with NATO allies on how to respond to such provocations.

Bulgaria is concerned about Russia’s partial blockade of its Black Sea exclusive economic zone, writes Euractiv, citing an interview with Bulgarian Defense Minister Todor Tagarev to the publication. He emphasized that Bulgaria considers these actions a provocation:

“Bulgaria is discussing a response to these provocations, both independently and with our NATO allies.”

When asked by Euractiv whether Bulgaria has scenarios in the event of a Russian attack on cargo ships traveling from Ukrainian ports through Bulgarian waters or the economic zone in the Black Sea, the Ministry of Defense replied that there are no such scenarios:

“At the moment there is no immediate risk or threat of attack on a merchant ship sailing in the territorial sea of ​​a NATO member country. These waters are under the sovereignty of each coastal state and are part of state territory. An attack in the territorial sea can be considered an attack on the Republic of Bulgaria and NATO as a whole.”

The ministry noted that the navies of Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey have increased vigilance, continuing to carry out tasks with their own forces and means to ensure the safety of merchant ships passing through the Black Sea. And they stated that additional measures to ensure the safety of navigation in economic zones “can only be achieved by NATO actions, in accordance with the UN Charter and international maritime law, coordinated with other partners in the region.” The Ministry of Defense also assured:

“The Bulgarian position regarding security in the Black Sea has always been based on the principle of allied solidarity, action and guarantees within the framework of NATO. When such an allied decision is made, Bulgaria will make its contribution in accordance with its capabilities.”

Asked by Euractiv whether the routes of cargo ships transporting grain through Bulgaria’s Black Sea economic zone could be coordinated, the ministry said there was no legal basis for this.

A few days ago, the Bulgarian government allocated 20 million euros for the purchase of missiles and torpedoes for the navy. The country is also interested in urgently purchasing RBS-15 missile systems for the coast guard from the Swedish company Saab. Earlier, the Bulgarian Defense Minister admitted the possibility of a clash between Russia and NATO in the Black Sea.



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