Bulgarian Defence Minister Dismisses Rumours of Mobilisation
Bulgarian Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev reassured on Wednesday that no mobilisation was taking place in the country.
Nenchev also dismissed rumours that NATO had requested the participation of Bulgarian troops in operations due to the Ukrainian crisis.
He explained in an interview for the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) that if there is such a request, the Bulgarian Parliament will have to cast its vote on it.
In his words, although other allied countries were closer to Ukraine, the hysteria was rife only in Bulgaria.
He was left with such impressions following his talks with the defence ministers of Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which are also to host the approved NATO command centres.
Nenchev explained that Bulgaria will host two military trainings for 2015, with the participation of 14-15 allied tanks.
Five or six tanks are expected for the first training, which will begin in March and will last until April.
The second drill is scheduled to take place in October, when eight or nine tanks are expected to be deployed.
Nenchev said that as a sovereign country, Bulgaria could refuse to host a NATO military training on its territory, but this will send a bad signal to the allies.
The Defence Minister reminded that Bulgaria had already failed to fulfill one of its commitments this year by refusing to increase its defence budget.
He explained that NATO does not conduct sudden drills, which is a Russian practice, the forthcoming trainings in Bulgaria having been planned more than half a year ago.
In 2015 Bulgaria will participate in 77 allied trainings, in most of the cases the majority of the expenses will be paid by the partner countries.
As regards the concerns expressed by Russia on the forthcoming trainings in Bulgaria, Nenchev reminded that Russian planes infringed the airspace of NATO more than 400 times last year.
The Defence Minister stated that the threats to the country's security originated both from the east and the south, which necessitated the careful observation of developments in Ukraine, the Middle East, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
As regards the mobilisation of ethnic Bulgarians in Ukraine, he said that nothing could be done as these were Ukrainian citizens.
However he assured that in case these fellow nationals wanted to relocate to Bulgaria, they will be welcomed.
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