site.btaPresident Radev: Cabinet, Parliament Should Keep, Upgrade Bulgaria’s Defence Capabilities, Not Transfuse them to Foreign Armed Forces
"The Government and the National Assembly are supposed to preserve and develop the defence capabilities of the Bulgarian Armed Forces and not use them as a donor to foreign armed forces," Bulgarian President Rumen Radev told journalists here on Tuesday. He was reacting to a proposal to supply defective Bulgarian surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine.
Radev said he had not read the report of the State Agency for National Security (SANS) on the basis of which three clergymen from the Russian church in Sofia were expelled from Bulgaria on September 21 for implementing various elements of Russia’s hybrid strategy for purposeful impacting of socio-political processes in Bulgaria in favour of Russian geopolitical interests. "But even if I have read it, I wouldn't have told you, because I'm not like certain other political leaders who handle classified information carelessly," the head of State asserted.
"There is profound ignorance of the essence of SANS's operation. When somebody's cover is blown and they are identified as an agent, this does not mean that they should be expelled immediately. On the contrary, such identification is only the beginning of operational work proper," Radev explained. "The idea is to track down the agent's subjects of influence in Bulgaria, the people they have recruited, if any. The people they influence, their sources of information. This network is of interest and needs to be identified," Radev commented. In his words, by the way it handled this case Bulgaria denied itself this opportunity. "The people who insist on such actions are obviously unfamiliar with the nature of the services' work," he argued.
"The lack of an adequate public response to the violations of the law and self-interested scheming admitted by political leaders in the ill-fated recording about leasing out our national security and sovereignty, rigging the elections and privatizing statehood encourages those same political leaders now to attack indiscriminately key institutions, to pass judgments about the services from the position of their blatant incompetence and ignorance, and to insist on their change," Radev pointed out. He was apparently referring to a recording of a meeting of Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria that was leaked by breakaway MP Radostin Vasilev on May 26 and to statements by Continue the Change Co-leader Kiril Petkov, who alleged that the security services fail to do their job properly and must be reformed, including divesting the President of the power to appoint their heads.
In Radev's words, "the sole purpose of the so-called reform of the services is to take them under control, so that nobody could learn about the powerholders' iniquities and nobody could resist them effectively. Precisely such actions, disguised as fussy daily declarations and pledges of Euro-Atlantic solidarity, tangibly distance us from the EU and NATO," the head of State pointed out, insisting that people who disseminate classified information and secret documents must be taken to law rather than amend the laws.
"You cannot possibly schizophrenically and politically absurdly cry for [Bulgaria's entry into] Schengen and the eurozone and, at the same time, trumpet far and wide that the services are breached and the country is infested with spies," the President argued. He called for greater professionalism and nationally responsible attitude to security. "SANS is an important element of national security. SANS is not a punching bag for ignorant and obsessively ambitious politicians to practise on," Radev stated.