Bulgaria’s Defense Minister: Russia's Black Sea Exercises in our Economic Zone are a Provocation
"Russia has announced that by the end of the month, they will conduct exercises in our economic zone, which we see as provocative actions against our security and economic interests". This was stated by the Minister of Defense Todor Tagarev before his hearing in the Defense Committee.
He explained that a wide range of possible actions in response to the Russian provocation are being discussed, both independently and with Bulgaria's allies.
Russia has continued to block a large part of Bulgaria's exclusive economic zone in the Black Sea for two months now.
"About 1,500 military personnel will be stationed at a base for NATO's multinational battle group, and there will be an opportunity to increase the number", Defense Minister Todor Tagarev said during a hearing at the Defense Committee.
The leading country in the group is Italy, whose soldiers will be the largest in number, with representatives from all countries including Bulgaria.
He announced that the location of the base on the territory of Yambol region is still an intention and not a final decision.
"The assessment of military experts is that this is the most suitable region," said Tagarev, adding that the value of the military base will be around 100 million leva, and part of the funds will be provided by NATO.
According to him, the creation of the base for the multinational battle group will help the economic development of the region, but he considers it a mistake that he did not give enough information to avoid the built-up tension among the people of Yambol.
Tagarev explained that last year, at a NATO summit, a decision was made to deploy battle groups on the Alliance's eastern flank, numbering around 5,000 servicemen when fully deployed.
According to him, it is currently being discussed to have a part of this number in Bulgaria - less than 50% and "if necessary, to quickly increase the number in order to be able to fulfill its functions of deterrence and defense against a potential aggressor".
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