The Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group (Blackseafor) has left the Bulgarian port of Varna to conduct its next stage of exercises, according to the Blackseafor commander.

Blackseafor, created in 2001 under the leadership of Turkey, comprises all Black Sea littoral states, namely Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Georgia.

The first stage of the exercises was conducted in the south-western region of the Black Sea which involved search and rescue operations, and replenishment and refuelling at sea as well as monitoring of civilian aircraft.

During the next stages, the Blackseafor warships will exercise tactical manoeuvres, conduct combat operations against surface ships, practise air defence and communications, assistance to ships in distress and ship inspection.

A Black Sea fleet Caesar Kunikov Ropucha-I Class large landing ship is representing Russia in the Blackseafor.

The purpose of Blackseafor is to promote security and stability in the Black Sea maritime area by conducting search and rescue operations and environmental monitoring.