July 10, 2024, 13:18

Black Sea demining efforts: Current progress and Ukraine’s potential participation

Plans are underway for targeted demining operations in the Black Sea, with the recent deployment of five ships from Istanbul last week. Three NATO member states are actively engaged, and Ukraine aims to join these efforts. 

It was announced by Vasyl Bodnar, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Türkiye, during a briefing at the Ukraine Media Center.

“Specific plans for demining operations are now taking shape. Last week, five ships departed Istanbul: one each from Bulgaria and Romania, serving as mine sweepers, along with three Turkish vessels beginning preparations for the demining zone. A delineated area on relevant maps primarily covers international waters in the western Black Sea,” stated Bodnar.

According to Bodnar, expanding the operational area and incorporating additional participants is also being discussed. He highlighted Ukraine’s expressed interest in joining the initiative, currently under review by involved parties.

Bodnar also noted interest from several NATO nations to participate, initially through liaison officers. 

“This initiative is highly beneficial for us, as it enables the creation of safer passages for ships. Over time, we anticipate joining this effort, as it aligns with our interests, particularly in demining Ukraine’s territorial waters. Currently, NATO oversees this initiative, emphasizing regional responsibility among its three member states. The focus remains on securing our shipping corridors for exporting goods and fostering international collaboration on Black Sea demining. Initially, our involvement may begin with liaison officers or communication channels with Türkiye, rather than ships or technical personnel. Looking ahead, we aim to become full participants, given Ukraine’s coastal status in the Black Sea region and its NATO membership aspirations,” explained Vasyl Bodnar.

Read more: https://mediacenter.org.ua/news