Bulgaria might Look for “Second Hand” F-16s or European Fighter Jets on Lease

Politics » DEFENSE | March 24, 2022, Thursday // 17:05
Bulgaria: Bulgaria might Look for “Second Hand” F-16s or European Fighter Jets on Lease

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev is in Brussels, where he is taking part in an extraordinary NATO summit.

NATO Approved the Deployment of a Battalion battle Group in Bulgaria

After the meeting, the head of state announced that he had asked US President Joe Biden to speed up the delayed delivery of F16 fighters to Bulgaria or to look for an option to supply “second-hand” fighters on lease.

“If this option does not work, we can seek assistance from our European partners”, said Rumen Radev. The President added that he had raised the issue of leasing training for F16 or providing European fighters on lease to the leaders of the Netherlands, France and Italy.

According to the president, there is a common will between him and the government on this issue.

He reminded that due to the delay in the supply of F16, Bulgaria is expected to have operational squadron capabilities for the new fighters only by 2030. Until then, a solution must be sought to ensure air and missile defense on Bulgarian territory, for which we have a commitment to NATO.

Meanwhile, the search for options for the maintenance of our existing MiG-29 fighters continues.

“Obviously, in this context of growing escalation, Russia is definitely out of the question. Next week, I hope to have an expert group to explore the capabilities of Polish industry and the Polish air force, but this is a temporary solution, and we need a sustainable solution,” said Radev.

At the meeting, Bulgaria raised the issue of building a system of pipelines on the Eastern Flank with NATO's financial mechanisms together with Greece and Romania. This project should go hand in hand with improving railway and road connectivity infrastructure, Radev said.

NATO will Deploy a Battalion in Bulgaria

Regarding the deployment of a battalion battle group in Bulgaria, the President said that Britain would send 150 soldiers to join our military. Italy is also ready to send troops as part of the battalion.

At the meeting, the topic of which countries could provide arms assistance to Ukraine and which could not was not discussed, the president explained. The supply of military equipment is a decision of the member states, he specified.

Bulgaria Calls Back its Ambassador from Russia, Russian Ambassador in Bulgaria is Expected to Leave

The head of state said that summoning the Bulgarian ambassador to Russia Atanas Krastin for consultations was a logical move in the current situation.

Radev commented on the behavior of Russian Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova in Bulgaria as follows:

“Definitely no ambassador has the right to appropriate the right to speak on behalf of the Bulgarian people.”

Russian Ambassador: Bulgarians do not Support their Government's Actions against Russia

After the meeting, the head of state stressed that the Alliance has never been more united in recognizing the need for urgent measures to support Ukraine, strengthen the Eastern Flank and end Russia's aggression and return the conflict to diplomacy.

“One of the great tasks is to make it clear that we do not want to allow the conflict to escalate outside the territory of the warring states. NATO's intervention under Article 5 to protect each member state is strongly emphasized. We must not allow NATO to get involved to avoid World War III.” said Radev

/BNT

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Tags: F16, NATO, Bulgaria, Radev
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