NATO has carried out naval drills in the Black Sea, including anti-air and anti-submarine exercises. The maneuvers featured Black Sea littoral members of the alliance Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, as well as four other countries.
The joint exercise saw six vessels take part, including the guided missile cruiser USS Vicksburg, while ships from Canada, Germany and Italy were also present. The operation was headed by US Rear Admiral Brad Williamson.
According to a Bulgarian navy spokesman, the training drills featured simulated anti-air and anti-submarine warfare exercises, as well as simulated small boat attacks and basic ship handling maneuvers.
“The training and exercises we will conduct with our Allies in the Black Sea prepares us to undertake any mission NATO might require to meet its obligations for collective defense,” Williamson was cited as saying by the alliance’s Maritime Command (MARCOM)’s website.
The drills in the Black Sea are likely to further antagonize already strained relations with Russia. The US and NATO are outraged by Crimea’s decision to cede from Ukraine and join Russia and have been increasing their military and naval presence in the region.