Experts urge Bulgaria to ask NATO for help – EURACTIV.com

Several military experts have urged the Bulgarian government to ask NATO for help over the looming state of war in neighboring Ukraine.

“War is knocking at the door. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, Russian drones are already penetrating the airspace of Poland and Romania. We need a strong position to defend our sovereignty with our NATO allies.” Military expert Todor Tagarev commented on Tuesday.

The Atlantic Council of Bulgaria published a similar but much sharper position.

Tagarev almost became defense minister in early March. Although his name was suggested by Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, Dragomir Zakov was eventually appointed to replace Stefan Yanev, whom Petkov asked to resign.

Although no official explanation for the move has been given, various sources from the ruling coalition indicate that the Socialist Party, one of the four partners in the government, opposes Tagarev.

Petkov said Tagarev would become his defense adviser, although that has not happened yet. Now Tagarev is asking Bulgaria to accept all necessary Allied help to ensure its protection by agreeing to the creation of a Bulgarian NATO battalion.

“What would I advise the Prime Minister today (if I were an adviser): the government should immediately call on allies to take control of our airspace, part of NATO airspace, including by deploying additional fighter jets from allied countries on our territory,” Tagarev said.

His comments come a day after President Rumen Radev delivered a speech in which he called on the government to take urgent measures to ensure that Bulgarian skies are protected only by Bulgarian pilots flying Bulgarian planes.

However, the Bulgarian Army currently has fewer than eight old MiG-29 fighter jets in flight and its resources are running out.

Four Spanish Eurofighters are currently based in Bulgaria and eight Dutch F-35s are also expected to be deployed after April 1st. The French nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, currently in the Mediterranean, is also taking on the mission to protect the skies over Bulgaria and Romania with Rafale fighters.

In this context, Tagarev also mentioned the currently very limited training of Bulgarian pilots and the unacceptably high risk that the MiG-29 would be exposed to Russian aircraft. The resources of the missile armament of the fighters have long been exhausted.

“The government should invite experts from allied countries to assess which of our radar stations and anti-aircraft missile systems may actually be involved in the allied operation and which should be stopped immediately,” Tagarev said.

According to him, if necessary, Bulgaria should ask allies to deploy mobile 3D radars, as well as anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense systems on our territory.

A much tougher position has been issued by the Atlantic Council of Bulgaria, an NGO with some former GERB-affiliated politicians from the ruling party, such as MEP Alexander Yordanov and former Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov. According to them, refusing Allied aid is treason.

“Who has an interest in Bulgaria being the weakest entity on NATO’s eastern flank?” That WHO is the Kremlin, Putin and his machetes in Bulgaria, placed at the highest levels of power.

This explains why in the minds of Russian five-columnists in our country there are images of greeting the Russian occupiers with bread and salt in Varna, Burgas and the Eagle Bridge in Sofia.

In fulfilling our civic duty, we, the Atlantic Council of Bulgaria, once again warn our statesmen, politicians, generals, officers and soldiers that treason is the most terrible treason and crime. There is no forgiveness for him!” declared the Atlantic Council.

The NGO has called on Bulgaria to immediately request the deployment of reinforced fully-manned and operational Allied battle groups and the deployment of two Patriot anti-aircraft and anti-missile batteries in eastern Bulgaria.

On Monday, Petkov spoke with US Vice President Kamala Harris about strengthening NATO’s defenses and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will also visit Bulgaria this week.

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