Bulgaria‘s defense development plan up to 2032 – drafted ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 – says Bulgaria would need to invest 36 billion leva (about $18 billion) to have minimum military capabilities, Defense Chief Admiral Emil Eftimov said on April 30 .
“We are really in a different situation. Turns out, peace comes at a price. The price for maintaining a combat-ready army,” Eftimov said in an interview with Bulgarian National TV.
Bulgaria currently invests 1.73 percent of its GDP in defense, less than the 2 percent it committed to as a NATO member in 2014.
He said US Stryker Cavalry Company and Bulgarian military personnel were already training together in the NATO multinational battle group in Bulgaria, and between 700 and 800 personnel from Italy would arrive in the country to take part.
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the Bulgarian Navy has been closely monitoring the Black Sea, Eftimov said.
The security situation in the Black Sea is dynamic, we all know about the restrictions on navigation in the north-western part of the Black Sea, the problems in the Sea of Azov, in the waters of the Odessa Gulf to Crimea, he said.
Eftimov said that the dangers in the Black Sea come not only from sea mines detected by the Romanian and Turkish navies, but also from the dynamics of the conflict.
“We pay special attention to this situation and, of course, we focus on Kherson, Mykolaiv and Odessa,” he said.
Currently, F-35 fighter jets of the Royal Netherlands Air Force based at Graf Ignatievo air base support aerial surveillance of Bulgarian airspace. After the end of their mission, they will be replaced by fighter jets from other NATO countries, said Eftimov.
He said the military is working on options to conduct air policing from other air bases.
(Screenshot via BNT)
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