Bulgaria’s June 2024 elections: Defence Ministry slams political party over disinformation

It is unacceptable to involve the Bulgarian army in an election campaign, the Defence Ministry said on June 6, saying it was reacting to a statement by the leader of a political party, who it did not name.

“The Bulgarian army is depoliticised. It serves the Bulgarian people regardless of political vicissitudes and fulfills its constitutional obligations,” the Defence Ministry said.

The ministry statement was apparently in reaction to a June 5 post on Facebook by Kostadin Kostadinov, leader of the minority pro-Kremlin party Vuzrazhdane: “Today, we of Vuzrazhdane stopped a military column at the beginning of Asparuhov bridge, in the direction of Varna. War is literally on our doorstep.”

Bulgarian news agency BTA reported Kostadinov as telling bTV that in the incident, supporters of his party had stopped a military convoy on the approaches to the Black Sea city of Varna and had been threatened with a firearm by a member of the Military Police.

The Defence Ministry said that the participation of Bulgarian military personnel in exercises and training in a national and allied format is key to increasing their preparation for the readiness of the Bulgarian Armed Forces to fulfill their constitutional obligations to guarantee the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Bulgaria.

“In the specific case, on June 4, a military convoy transporting anti-aircraft missile formation equipment for participation in the national exercise Shabla -2024 stopped in the area of ​​the Asparukh bridge in Varna,” the ministry said.

“The bridge was temporarily closed to traffic by the authorities of the Interior Ministry due to a traffic accident. The military convoy was escorted by teams of the Military Police Service,” it said.

The ministry said that the task of the Military Police Service is to ensure security and safety when moving personnel and military equipment.

“When performing their official duties, servicemen from the Service are required to carry weapons, according to Art. 50 of the Regulations for the Implementation of the Military Police Act. During the subsequent inspection of the case on June 4, no abuse of the powers of the military police officers was found.”

It said that the Shabla-2024 exercise, where the military convoy was travelling, is planned and is held annually at the air force range. Formations of the types of armed forces and the commands of the Bulgarian Army have been participating in it for many years, the ministry said.

“Attempts to undermine the authority of the Bulgarian Army and the Armed Forces and hinder its training can only have negative consequences for the national security and international authority of the Republic of Bulgaria.

“The use of mandatory training to increase the capabilities of Bulgarian military personnel in order to instill fear and spread misinformation causes serious and lasting damage to the entire Bulgarian society in today’s complex geopolitical environment,” the ministry said.

“A responsible attitude to the Bulgarian Army requires respect for its role and functions and consistent work to solve the most important problems related to modernisation, carrying out combat duty and fulfilling our duties as part of the common collective security of the Nato countries,” it said.

(Photo via Kostadinov’s Facebook page)

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