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Romania plans to boost Black Sea talks, military procurement

BUCHAREST, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Romania will speed up defence procurement and intensify talks with Turkey, Bulgaria and Georgia to counter potential spillovers from Russia's war in Ukraine towards the Black Sea, the country's supreme defence council said on Tuesday.

The Black Sea is crucial for the shipment of grain, oil and oil products. Its waters are shared by Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia.

In the eight months since Russia invaded Ukraine, Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria have been defusing mines drifting in the Black Sea.

"Proposals to counter potential threats so as to maintain peace in the Black Sea region and avoid conflict expansion were analyzed," the council said in a statement.

The proposals include strengthening Romania's armed forces, speeding up military procurement programs, hosting more NATO exercises on its soil, boosting talks with Black Sea neighbours and developing interconnection projects in the extended Black Sea region, the statement said.

It did not provide details on military procurements

European Union and NATO member Romania shares a 650-kilometre (400 mile) border with Ukraine, is host to a U.S. ballistic missile defence system and, as of this year, has a permanent alliance battle group stationed on its territory.

Some 2.65 million Ukrainians have fled to Europe through Romania in the eight months since the war started.

Ukraine has sent over 5 million tonnes of grains to the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta since Feb. 24 and over 5.5. million tonnes of other products, including iron ore. (Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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