Bulgarian DefMin Asks for Extra Funding to Buy Gear for Border Surveillance, Anti-terror Operations
Bulgaria’s Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev has requested an additional BGN 1.5 M (EUR 750,000) to provide essential equipment to army personnel taking part in border protection and control jointly with police, BNR public radio broadcaster reported.
“Protective gear, night-vision goggles, transceivers and other stuff we need not only at the borders,” BNR quoted Nenchev as telling the Defence Committee in Parliament on Thursday. “We need the equipment also in case the armed forces have to take part in an anti-terrorist operation.”
Last month, Bulgaria’s Parliament granted extended powers to the Army to assist Border Police in securing protection and control of the country’s frontiers amidst the migration crisis in Europe. Until then the Army had only been allowed to provide logistics support to border police.
Nenchev also said that a previously unannounced joint training exercise of Bulgarian Army troops and border police at Ilinden crossing at Bulgaria’s border with Greece had been “highly successful”.
“People must get used to the fact that we’ll be holding such snap drills from time to time,” Nenchev said. “It’s clear that we’ll be present at Bulgaria’s borders with Greece, Macedonia and Serbia.”
Joint exercises of Bulgarian Navy and maritime border police are planned to be held in the Black Sea, although the government has no information about potential migrant inflows at the country’s eastern border, Nenchev has told the MPs, according to focus-news.net.
Nenchev has made clear that the Defence Ministry is working hard to respond adequately if irregular migrants try to enter Bulgaria from the Black Sea. So far, migrants and refugees have been crossing Bulgaria’s border with Turkey using land routes.
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