• After one year of increased visibility on military issues, the new NATO exercise in Romania was very discreet, with lower impact than last year’s activities (Saber Guardian and Noble Jump). NATO is not using these moments well enough to promote the message of strength in the region.


  • Most of the mentions regarding Sea Shield are in the traditional online press (as compared to Facebook or other social networks or online sources). We’ve noticed a low visibility on traditional media (TV). The number of views in classic online media is higher than the views of mentions from any other source.


  • Both the number of mentions of Sea Shield and the impact of those mentions are significantly lower compared to the number of mentions and the number of views relating to the two major NATO exercises from last year (Noble Jump and Saber Guardian). Last year, the greater interest was stimulated by the fact that the military exercises took place on land, and also by the public involvement / association of high-ranking officials from Romania – President Klaus IOHANNIS, for example.


  • Most mentions of Sea Shield were registered in early May, before the actual start of the exercise. These are references about the official announcement of the military exercise but also reports on the arrival of the warships belonging to the participating States.
    • One peak corresponded to the May 4 event of the interception by British aircraft of a Russian military plane, which allegedly was monitoring the exercise.
    • Other noticeable peaks occurred immediately after the military exercise.


  • The terms most associated with Sea Shield are NATO, the Black Sea, the Romanian naval forces, Constanta or the names of some participating countries. We note the absence of an explicit association of the Sea Shield with the US.


  • The posts with the greatest impact belong to the official Facebook account of the Romanian Naval Forces.
    • Also, media sources that have published high impact articles have built them based solely on the official information provided on the development of Sea Shield.
    • Similarly, information on the Russian airplane interceptions is based solely on what has been communicated by the officials.


  • In Romanian online media, there were no elements of criticism regarding NATO or, in particular, the military exercise which is the subject of this analysis, in Facebook posts or articles with over 3000 views. Also, there were no mentions regarding the Russian Federation, other than those from official information regarding the plane issue.


  • However, it is worth noting that during the military exercise in the Black Sea, in the media space of the Republic of Moldova there were also alternative sources of negative news about NATO. One of these sources was the president of the republic, Igor Dodon. Also during the same period, sources of Russian propaganda, such as Sputnik.md, published articles with titles such as “Russia has an advantage over NATO in Eastern Europe” or “The Black Sea is transformed from an economic zone into a strongly militarized one”.


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