NATO's Black Sea members in the face of Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey joined four other alliance states for the conducting of a multinational naval exercise that was carried out on Tuesday right across the Crimean Peninsula waters that were annexed by Russia in 2014.
The Black Sea drills’ naval rapid reaction force consists of a United States flagship, along with the guided missile cruiser USS Vicksburg, and vessels from each of the other six participating states. Canada, Germany as well as Italy are also part of the drills.
NATO has carried out a series of exercises in eastern Europe following Russia’s move into the region.
The training is going to center around simulated anti-air and anti-submarine warfare exercises, along with simulated small boat attacks and basic vessel handling maneuvers, as it was commented by a Bulgarian navy spokesperson.
This past week, Russia's defense ministry stated that its forces had initiated large-scale military exercises in the southern part of country as well as in disputed territories alongside its borders, which includes the Crimea region.
Relations between Russia and the West have not been in such a strained state since the time of the Cold War. Ukraine and the West have made numerous accusations of Russia directing a separatist assault in the eastern parts of Ukraine with its own military force. Moscow on the other hand has done nothing but deny those accusations.
Bulgaria, who was once a close ally to the Soviet Union, joined NATO back in 2004 and is one of a total of six eastern European countries that are going to host new command units, all staffed with national and NATO soldiers, that are being established as a form of response to the crisis in Ukraine.