Bulgaria says ‘no’ to more NATO troops on its territory

The Bulgarian Defence Minister has stated that he does not see a need to deploy more NATO troops to the country in response to Russia’s troop build-up near the border with Ukraine. At the same time, other states of the region have been asking for NATO and US support, fearing Russian aggression.

The country’s Defence Minister, Stefan Yanev, wrote that a decision to send more troops to Bulgaria would not match the interests of NATO, nor those of Bulgaria.

Mr Yanev stated that while various options are being discussed within NATO, including the deployment of more troops, the response to the Russian build-up should not escalate tensions.

Deploying troops to his country “has the potential to lead to an undesirable increase in tensions in the region,” he wrote.

Stefan Yanev served as Prime Minister of Bulgaria until December 13. In the past, he was a commander of a rocket artillery division. Yanev is associated with Bulgaria’s pro-Russian President Rumen Radev.

The comment comes as the West and countries of Central Eastern Europe fear a possible invasion of Ukraine, as Russian troops are building up at the border with its western neighbour. Most countries’ response has been to ask NATO and the United States for more guarantees and more troops, as in, for instance, the case of the Baltic states.

Bulgaria said it would be following the situation closely and was ready to increase the capacity of its own national forces if necessary.

However, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov emphasised that his government hasn’t held any conversations regarding the deployment of NATO troops in the Black Sea region. According to the Bulgarian Prime Minister, the stance of Defence Minister Yanev is his own, personal opinion and in no way reflects the official standpoint of the Bulgarian government.


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