site.btaDefence Minister: Building Infrastructure for NATO's Battlegroup in Bulgaria Will Probably Cost over BGN 100 Mln
Building infrastructure - barracks, equipment storage buildings, roads - for NATO's multinational battlegroup in Bulgaria will probably cost more than BGN 100 million, Defence Minister Todor Tagarev said during a hearing at the parliamentary Defence Committee. He described the structures to be built as a small town.
The Defence Ministry has budget resources for the project design but that is yet to happen. Part of the resources needed will be provided by NATO, Tagarev specified.
"People have nothing to worry about, there are opportunities for economic and social development of the region during the construction of such infrastructure," he noted in relation the battlegroup possibly being stationed at the two military bases in Yambol Region (Southeastern Bulgaria). A decision on the location is yet to be taken, Tagarev said.
The battlegroup's base should be ready by 2025. The main part of the officers will be from Italy. The battlegroup will have defence functions in case of a threat from an aggressor. Some 1,000 service persons from the battlegroup are currently in Bulgaria, stationed at the US base at Novo Selo. Their number can grow to some 1,500 people in peaceful times, Tagarev explained during the hearing.
Talking about the situation in Ukraine, the Defence Minister said that the war does not appear to be nearing its end, and the support for Ukraine will have to continue so that the country can protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Tagarev also commented on the appointment of Kalin Dimitrov Executive Director of TEREM-Holding EAD, a State-owned company run by the Defence Ministry which specializes in repairs, modernization, and logistical support of military equipment. The Defence Minister said he is not happy with the company's work and Dimitrov can offer options for the plants to carry out their functions better. Dimitrov has experience in managing smaller companies and very good contacts in the search for alternative sources and know-how on military equipment maintenance not only in Ukraine but also in other countries. Dimitrov assisted a visit of an Air Force delegation to Ukraine in 2021 when it transpired that Bulgaria would not be able to rely on Russia and Belarus for equipment maintenance, Tagarev said.