CHISINAU, February 28 – RIA Novosti. Bulgaria will not participate in NATO exercises “Poseidon 21” in the Black Sea due to infection of crew members with coronavirus, said the head of the General Staff of the Romanian Navy Mihai Panait. “This time the Bulgarian partner has a problem with the COVID-19 pandemic, and because of this he refused to participate in this multinational exercise, “Panait said in a comment to Radio Romania.
The international exercises of the North Atlantic Alliance “Poseidon 21” started in the Black Sea port of Constanta. Seven states were to take part in the maneuvers: Romania, USA, France, Turkey, Greece, Spain and Bulgaria.
During the exercise, it is planned to work out scenarios to combat underwater threats, including hydrographic reconnaissance, detection and disposal of sea mines and improvised explosive devices. Also, exercises are being conducted to combat enemy aircraft, ships and submarines, towing damaged ships, refueling on water, and providing first aid.
The exercise involves the minelayer Viceamiral Constantin Bălescu, the hydrographic ship Cpt.cdor Alexandru Cătuneanu, the high-speed diving vessel Venus, two MiG-21 fighters, as well as the IAR 330 MEDEVAC and Puma Naval helicopters – provided by Bucharest. The Allies sent Tsibar minesweepers, a remote-controlled submarine robot, Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, and divers to the exercise. The training ship Sokullu Mehmet Paşa, sea minesweepers Locotenent Lupu Dinescu and Priboy, minesweepers Tajo and Ayvalik are involved in the maneuvers.
The exercise will end on March 6.
At the NATO summit in Warsaw in 2016, Romania called for increased security measures in the southeastern flank of Europe, as well as for the continued presence of the alliance in the Black Sea region.