Bulgaria to Post 70 Troops to Deal with Refugee Influx at Border
Bulgarian Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev announced on Wednesday that 70 troops will be posted to the border with Turkey in order to help the border police deal with the influx of refugees.
The troops will be stationed at the border on April 27 and the Defence Ministry will also help with military equipment, the minister said in an interview for the Bulgarian National Television (BNT).
According to Nenchev, the main problems to the national security originated from the regions controlled by Islamic State (IS) and the situation in Ukraine.
These topics will be discussed at the Consultative Council for National Security, which will be convened by Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev on April 27.
The state of the Bulgarian army will be a main topic of discussion at the forthcoming consultative council, Nenchev assured.
He revealed that Bulgaria was attempting to acquire old US fighter jets free of charge in order to modernise its air force.
The minister assured that he will carefully examine the conditions of the jets and the expenses needed for their maintenance and equipment.
In his words, the Bulgarian jets were not compatible with those of the allies, which hampered joint activities.
Nenchev said that if Bulgaria continued to maintain the old Russian jets, in several years it might turn out that for the same amount of money the country could have acquired a new squadron of multi-purpose jets.
The minister stated that the strategy on the development of the army foresaw other major projects, such as the purchase of new frigates, a patrol ship and armoured personnel carriers.
Nenchev added that he expected and sought broad political support for the development of the army, including from parties outside the governing coalition.
Consultations were underway and support had been secured from the Bulgarian Democratic Centre and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), while discussions with the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) were forthcoming.
Nenchev said that there was chronic lack of cadres, as the army was short of nearly 700-800 officers.
The minister assured that he will continue to hold talks for increasing the defence budget and expected that it will be updated with nearly BGN 30 M at the end of the year.
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