Bulgaria stands ready to take its place on NATO’s Eastern Flank with honor so that we all feel assured and well protected against any possible aggression. This was stated by Prime Minister Acad. Nikolai Denkov after the demonstrations that he watched within the framework of the exercise „Iron Strike 2023“ of the Multinational Battlegroup led by Italy and with host country Bulgaria.
“Today we see the result of the efforts of the Bulgarian authorities, of the neighbor countries that are members of NATO and of the NATO command to reinforce the South-Eastern Flank. The geopolitical situation is changing very quickly and we must be prepared to meet any challenges,” the Prime Minister said. To that end, the country must have well trained armed forces and work in close cooperation with the neighbor countries.
The NATO Multinational Battlegroup deployed in Bulgaria comprises troops from the United States, Albania, Greece, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia and Turkey.
As a host country, Bulgaria plans to generate the conditions required for the reinforcement of the Multinational Battlegroup as it increases its personnel strength. “We have the political support and the will to grow to the brigade level,” Acad. Nikolai Denkov said.
The Deputy Secretary General of NATO Mircea Geoană emphasized that as a successful host nation of one of the NATO battlegroups deployed in the region between the Baltic and the Black Sea, Bulgaria helps deter aggression on the Eastern Flank of the Alliance. He recognized the contribution of the Bulgarian troops to the NATO missions in Kosovo and Iraq. The Deputy Secretary General welcomed Bulgaria’s commitment to make an allocation that amounts to minimum 2% of the GDP for defense spending in the coming years. As he said, the combat materiel to be purchased will strengthen Bulgaria’s security and make the Alliance even stronger.
Defense Minister Todor Tagarev was among the spectators of the exercise. “The servicemen have successfully completed their tasks and proved that we are about to achieve full military viability of the national battlegroup. Eight allies work together in Bulgaria and are prepared to deter any potential aggressor, to defend our country and to contribute to our security and the security of the NATO’s Eastern Flank,” he said.