US 6th Fleet and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO Commander Vice Admiral Christopher Grady discussed cooperation in providing maritime security in the region with the commander of the Bulgarian naval forces, Rear Admiral Mitko Petev in Varna.
At the press conference, they expressed high appreciation for the joint work, stressing that ensuring security in the Black Sea region is one of the most important tasks to be solved jointly.
"It is very important for us to maintain good cooperation and partnership in open international waters. Our cooperation with the Bulgarian Navy is an example of fulfilling our obligations to ensure maritime security," Grady said.
The US Vice Admiral stressed that American warships are in the Black Sea to cooperate with the Bulgarian Navy. "Security at sea affects the security of the whole region," he said.
The commander of the Bulgarian Navy said that joint exercises with the USA and the assistance provided by American experts help to raise the professional level of the Bulgarian military.
"It is extremely important for Bulgarian sailors to conduct their exercises in a complex situation with highly competent partners, as this is a guarantee that they will be able to defend the security and sovereignty of their homeland," Petev said.
Grady’s visit to the Black Sea capital of Bulgaria coincided with an unofficial visit to Varna by the American destroyer USS Oscar Austin, one of the main warships of the US 6th Fleet. The ship arrived at the Bulgarian coast after a joint exercise with Bulgarian, Turkish and Romanian navies and will remain until May 20.
Vice Admiral Grady explained the appearance of the destroyer near the Bulgarian coast as "a visible reminder of our joint actions if such a need arises."