Nato chief in Sofia: Bulgaria is a valued and reliable Nato ally

Bulgaria is a valued and reliable Nato ally, the Alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Sofia on May 27 at a joint news conference with Bulgaria’s caretaker Prime Minister Dimitar Glavchev.

Stoltenberg and Glavchev held talks on the third and final day of the Nato Parliamentary Assembly, held in the Bulgarian capital city, in the run-up to the Nato Summit to be held in Washington DC from July 9 to 11.

“We appreciate very much what Bulgaria is doing and has done for 20 years to enhance our collective defence, to strengthen our shared security,” Stoltenberg said.

“For 20 years you have played a critical role in maintaining the security of the Black Sea, the Western Balkans and beyond,” he said.

Stoltenberg noted that Bulgaria is hosting one of Nato’s eight multinational battlegroups, helping to deter Russian aggression on the Alliance’s eastern flank.

Bulgarian military personnel play an important role in Nato’s KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, and contribute to Nato’s training mission in Iraq, he said.

He noted that Bulgaria increased defence spending by nearly 20 per cent last year, and this year, will meet the Nato guideline of spending two per cent of GDP on defence.

Stoltenberg said that at the Nato Summit, the Alliance would strengthen its deterrence and defence for a more dangerous world.

“We will strengthen our support to Ukraine – both now and for the future. And we will strengthen our partnerships around the world,” he said.

“As I said today at the Nato Parliamentary Assembly: we can never take our freedom or security for granted,” Stoltenberg said.

“That is why, across the Alliance, we are ramping up the production of weapons and ammunition.

That is why Nato is bolstering its response to Russia’s hostile actions which target our critical infrastructure and democratic processes.”

Stoltenberg said that Nato was planning to play a greater role in coordinating security assistance and training for Ukraine.

He said that in recent weeks, the Allies had made major new pledges of support for Ukraine, and these pledges would make a difference. 

“But they will not be enough unless we sustain them. All Allies must dig deeper.”

Stoltenberg said that Ukraine striking military targets outside the territory of Ukraine is legitimate, and Nato partners should be careful when imposing restrictions on the use of weapons donated by them, so that it does not result in Ukraine not being able to properly defend itself.

Joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Dimitar Glavchev

Glavchev told the news conference that the sending of Bulgarian military personnel to Ukraine had “never been discussed”.

He said that claims about this were a typical example of a hybrid attack and disinformation.

The topic had neither been discussed in Nato format nor with Stoltenberg.

Glavchev said that they had discussed issues in the Black Sea region and for obvious reasons, Ukraine.

He said that he and Stoltenberg agreed that there was no alternative to aid for Ukraine.

Asked whether the issue of the possible deployment of Nato Allies anti-aircraft missile systems along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast had been discussed, Glavchev said that it had not been.

He said that Nato had not asked Bulgaria to expand its military aid to Ukraine, and the caretaker government was adhering to the decisions of the National Assembly on the matter.

(Photos: Nato)

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