Bulgaria, Romania and Türkiye will soon start a mine countermeasures operation in the Black Sea, Bulgaria’s Defence Minister Todor Tagarev told an October 20 forum on prospects for peace in Ukraine and security strategies in the Black Sea.
“Some small details remain to be clarified,” Tagarev said.
He said that he believed that the operation would start in the near future and would contribute both to higher security in Bulgaria’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, and to the export of grain from Ukraine, which was extremely important not only for Ukraine, but also for food security in a large part of the world.
It is not planned to involve Ukrainian forces in the operation, he said.
A new partner will join the multinational battle group, which will enable it to grow into a brigade of about 1500 people, Tagarev said.
Tagarev said that the defence investment programme up to 2032 would be fundamentally revised and tabled in Parliament in November. He did not go into detail, but indicated that it included the acquisition of drones.
Russia remains the biggest threat to national security, he said.
“We will see developments in the security environment and corresponding changes in the security system.”
Tagarev told the forum of the key developments in the security environment.
“The first factor is Russia’s aggression. It started in 2008 with the war against Georgia, continued in 2014 and the annexation of Crimea. The aggression culminated in February 2022 with Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” he said.
“With (Russia’s) exercises in our economic zone, violation of free traffic in the Black Sea, the situation is already quite complicated,” said Tagarev.
“There can be stable peace when Ukraine succeeds in restoring its borders from 1991. Without that, we cannot count on stability in the region. Even if there is a full restoration of territorial integrity, this does not mean an automatic end to Russian aggression,” Tagarev said.
In second place was the Western Balkans.
“A permanent security solution cannot yet be found. The situation in Kosovo is not calming down,” he said.
He said that the third factor was terrorist activity following Hamas’s attacks on Israel and predicted an increase in migration pressure.
Regarding the war in Israel, Tagarev said that there is no specific threat to Bulgaria.
(Photo: Ministry of Defence)
Please support The Sofia Globe’s independent journalism by becoming a subscriber to our page on Patreon: