Bulgaria Rejects Russian Offical’s Comment on Air Force Revamp Plans
A comment by Russia’s deputy premier Dmitry Rogozin relating to Bulgaria’s plans to replace its outdated Russian-made combat aircraft is totally unacceptable, Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov has said.
Bulgaria is a sovereign state which independently takes decisions related to its security and they can’t be commented upon by high-ranking representatives of other states, Mitov said in a statement.
On Monday, Rogozin wrote on Twitter that “One Shalamanov has persuaded [Bulgarian caretaker Prime Minister Georgi] Bliznashki betray Russia once again in favour of used” Western warplanes.
Новости Болгарии : Некто ШАЛАМАНОВ убедил премьера БЛИЗНАШКИ в очередной раз предать Россию http://t.co/WpfvnBJTRn в пользу б/ушных "иглов"— Dmitry Rogozin (@Rogozin) October 6, 2014
Rogozin also provided a link to a news story carried by ITAR-TASS on Monday, in which the Russian news agency quoted Bulgarian media reports as saying that Bliznashki’s government had decided to withdraw from service all Russian-made planes and helicopters, including 15 MiG-29 jets,six MiG-21 fightersand 14 Su-25 fighter-bombersbefore 2020.
Bulgaria’s caretaker Defence Minister Velizar Shalamanov said on Monday the NATO member must choose new fighter planes for its Air Force in the next six months among three offers – new Gripen fighters, used Eurofighters from Italy or used F16s from Portugal .
“I find Mr. Rogozin’s reference to the Bulgarian Defence Minister as being extremely unworthy,” Mitov said.
“Irrespective of the form and means of communication chosen to deliver the reference, it […] demonstrates lack of respect for Bulgarian institutions and the Bulgarian state.”
Rejecting what he described as “implicit accusations of disloyalty”, Mitov highlighted that as a member of the EU and NATO Bulgaria owes no explanations to third parties for its sovereign decisions.
He also said that comments such as Rogozin’s in no way assist the development of Sofia-Moscow relationship based on mutual interest.
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