Bulgarian Army to Help Border Police Only in Emergency Cases - DefMin
Border protection will remain assigned mostly to border police and riot police even after deployment of troops has been completed, Bulgaria's Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev has said.
He has told the Bulgarian National Television that the army, now authorized to provide assistance in border patrols, will stand ready to help in emergency situations.
Late in February, Parliament approved expanded powers for the army, which until then was only allowed the provide logistics and some other kinds of assistance to border police, under the old version of the Defense and Armed Forces Act.
Separately, Nenchev announced earlier this week that the construction of a border fence at the frontier with Greece had also been considered as a measure of last resort if migratory pressure heightens.
On Friday he explained that the army was conducting surveillance of the border regions coordinated with the Air Force and the Military Medical Academy.
The minister added that the servicemen deployed to the border will be allowed to bear arms "where it is needed".
He made clear he had already informed counterparts in Turkey, Greece, Serbia, and Macedonia (all neighboring states except for Romania which is currently not sitting on migrant routes) of the measures being taken on the southern border and would remain in close contact with them.
Earlier in March, a joint drill was carried out near Kulata-Promachonas border crossing between Bulgaria and Greece that involved military equipment, troops, border police and riot police forces, and the Bulgarian Red Cross.
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