BRUSSELS, July 23. /TASS/. NATO’s Sea Breeze - 2022 drills in the Black Sea have been scheduled in advance and are taking place near Bulgaria’s Varna far from Ukraine’s coast, a military source in Brussels told TASS on Saturday confirming that these military exercises by the alliance are the largest ones in the region since the onset of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.
"These drills were planned, aimed to work on military compatibility and the coordination of NATO’s naval actions and are unrelated to Russian aggression in Ukraine. They are being conducted in Bulgarian waters at a significant distance from the Black Sea’s northern part," the source said.
"As opposed to the Sea Breeze drills in the past, the Ukrainian side or other alliance’s partner states are not participating in them," the diplomat noted. "These exercises are the first ones in the region since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine (the onset of the Russian special military operation - TASS)."
According to him, 24 ships participate in the drills, as well as several planes and helicopters, drones and about 1,400 servicemen from 11 NATO states.
This year, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization did not make any public announcements on launching the military exercises in the Black Sea that started on July 18.
The participants take special precautionary measures over Ukrainian anti-ship mines floating in the Black Sea.