Turkiye’s minehunter vessels and maritime patrol aircraft are closely monitoring waters off Turkish coasts in the Black Sea region to detect and defuse drifting sea mines, the country’s defense minister said on Tuesday.
After a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara, Hulusi Akar commented on the threat of drifting sea mines suspected to be moving towards Turkiye as well as Bulgaria from the shores of Ukraine, which is at war with Russia since late February.
“Our minehunter vessels and naval patrolling ships are all vigilant,” he said, adding the detected mines would be eliminated immediately as measures were already taken by the Turkish army.
The minister further noted that Turkish authorities' efforts to identify the source and the number of drifting mines were still underway.
At least two sea mines have been defused by Turkish authorities so far. Another mine was defused by Bulgaria, which is another neighbor of Turkiye in the Black Sea region.
Russia's war against Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, has met international outrage, with the EU, US, and the UK, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.
At least 1,151 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 1,842 injured, according to the UN, which has cautioned that the true figure is likely far higher.
More than 3.87 million Ukrainians have also fled to neighboring countries, with millions more displaced inside the country, according to the UN refugee agency.