Bulgarian defense minister rejects possible NATO deployment

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SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria considers a deployment of NATO troops on its territory as unjustifiable, the Black Sea country’s defense minister said Tuesday.

Defense Minister Stefan Yanev commented in a Facebook post about a possible response of the military alliance to Russia’s military build-up near the border with Ukraine.

“Such a decision would not match the allies’ interests or the national interests of Bulgaria,” he wrote.

Yanev confirmed reports that various scenarios responding to Russia’s actions are being considered by NATO, including the deployment of additional troops in Bulgaria and Romania under NATO’s “Enhanced Forward Presence” mission, but added that “these are technical discussions and no decisions have been made.”

He said that such a debate has the potential of causing unnecessary tensions in the region and that at this stage there was no reason to consider Russia’s activities as a direct threat to the alliance and its security.

“In this sense, I see nothing that justifies a decision for deployment of additional troops on our territory,” Yanev wrote.

He added that Bulgaria, a member of NATO since 2004, was ready if needed “to increase the capacity of its own troops on its territory in the context of the allied capabilities for deterrence and defense.”

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