site.btaDeputy Defence Minister: No Need of NATO Ships Entering Black Sea at Present
There currently is no need for NATO battleships to enter the Black Sea, Deputy Defence Minister Atanas Zapryanov told the media on Thursday. For now, the assessment is that such an action would be interpreted as escalation of the situation, he added.
In his words, the war in Ukraine has proven that the attention to security in the Black Sea should be increased. NATO had been underestimating the topic for a long time until the 2023 Vilnius Summit in July, after which the Alliance acknowledged it as important for the entire organization. A bill related to Black Sea security has been tabled in the US Congress, Zapryanov said.
The Montreux Convention does not allow NATO ships to stay in the Black Sea for longer than 21 days, he recalled. All the countries that have signed the agreement value it and are not considering a change in it, he argued. After the war in Ukraine ends, Bulgaria, Romania, and Türkiye will probably not manage on their own in clearing the Black Sea of mines, and mine-sweeping groups of NATO will have to take part. A group for fighting mine danger will be set up between the three countries, he recalled, adding that the corresponding memorandum should be ready in November.
Commenting on the conflict in the Middle East, the Deputy Defence Minister said that Bulgaria has a plan for handling a possible migrant crisis. The borders are calm for now, the pressure on them has decreased, he noted.
Zaprynov was in Varna for an international conference on Black Sea security, hosted by the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy. Participating were experts from the US, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine as well as representatives of the military industry of France, Norway, and Bulgaria. Among the forum's guests were the Bulgarian Navy Commander, Read Admiral Kiril Mihaylov, and Varna Regional Governor Andriyana Andreeva.