Bulgarian PM after Security Council on Tensions in the East: We Remain a Loyal Partner of NATO
Prime Minister Kiril Petkov convened an emergency Security Council yesterday. The reason was the escalation of tensions between Ukraine and Russia. The participants in the meeting presented to the Prime Minister an analysis of the geopolitical situation, as well as possible measures discussed within NATO to demonstrate solidarity on its southeastern flank. The Prime Minister was adamant that all decisions taken by the government will be in line with the development of the situation and the possible escalation of the conflict, including measures to avoid negative economic effects. He stressed that Bulgaria is a loyal ally in the Alliance and unity is the strongest response.
At the same time, the United States has put 8,500 US troops on high alert. On Monday evening, US President Joe Biden also held video conferences with European leaders.
And long before the beginning of the Security Council in our country, Prime Minister Petkov made a statement that Bulgaria's position is for a peaceful solution to the situation.
“Obviously the tension is rising, we all see it, but I wouldn't say war is coming. We will be, as I have repeatedly said, a constructive partner and ally in NATO and the European Union,” Petkov explained.
Hours later, before the Defense Commission, Defense Minister Stefan Yanev guaranteed that there is no threat to our country.
“Neither Russia nor any other country is going to invade Bulgaria. We do not expect an invasion of Bulgarian territory,” he explained.
So far, no new NATO forces have been sent to Bulgaria.
“There is no decision of the Bulgarian government for this type of movement, gathering or deployment of NATO troops on Bulgarian territory,” Yanev explained.
The decision on the permit is yet to be discussed and must pass through parliament. The Netherlands is expected to send two F-35 fighters to Bulgaria in the spring. Spain will also enter the Black Sea with two warships. The relocation of more NATO equipment to the Eastern Flank this time is different, experts say.
“Most likely, for the first time, these planes will be fully equipped. So far, when they have participated in air sovereignty missions, they have been unarmed,” said Velizar Shalamanov, a former caretaker defense minister.
Even with the escalation, no direct NATO intervention is expected in Ukraine, experts say.
“NATO and the United States will not engage in actual hostilities on Ukrainian territory if an armed intervention by Russian forces in Ukraine is launched. But let's say that there is no such danger at the moment,” said Milen Keremdchiev, a former deputy foreign minister.
The topic will be continued today at an extraordinary session of parliament. The Prime Minister instructed the Minister of Defense to submit a draft approval of the national position and measures to strengthen Bulgaria's security system, the combat capability of the Bulgarian army and its technical support.
The Council of Ministers will decide on specific measures, about which the Prime Minister will inform the MPs after the end of the sitting of the Council of Ministers.
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