site.btaDefence Minister: Origin of Drone Fallen Near Tyulenovo Is Uncertain, Likely Ukrainian
In a Sunday interview for bTV, Defence Minister Todor Tagarev spoke about the origin of the drone found on the rocks at the boat mooring in Tyulenovo village on September 18. According to the Minister, while it is hard to state with absolute certainty where the device came from, chances are higher that it was Ukrainian.
Tagarev added that no matter the drone's origin, this was not a deliberate act against Bulgaria but an incident. The Ministry of Defence is in touch with Ukraine on the case.
The official request to dispose of the drone was received on September 18 at 2 a.m. Commenting on the criticism that the operation was not carried until the morning, Tagarev said that no one would go defusing ordnance at night, unless the situation calls for it. He added: "We are talking here about the rocks on the coast where there is no lighting and nowhere to come from. Quite rightly the team waited and then acted in the morning - it went to Tyulenovo and got the job done in daylight".
The Minister disagreed with criticism toward the way the operation had been carried out. He stated that the personnel were acting by the book and took the necessary precautions to protect the people and local infrastructure after deciding to destroy the ammunition on the spot.
Tagarev said: "We are talking about a team from the Navy. The job of the Interior Ministry in such cases is to isolate the area, while the job of the military is to destroy the ammunition in the safest way possible. Smoking in this case, when there is a mechanical detonator, has nothing to do with safety. This team is under tremendous stress. How its members deal with the stress is a personal matter".
The Defence Minister also commented on the expulsion of the rector of the Church of St. Nicholas of Myra, known as the Russian Church. He said: "No service has the full picture, which is why we are in an alliance with NATO and the European Union, and we exchange information, so that we are generally able to react better". The Minister then criticized the State Agency for National Security (SANS) for not acting sooner, as the clergyman had been present in Bulgaria since 2018.
Tagarev commented on SANS's statement regarding an interview with Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria Co-chair Kiril Petkov. The Minister said that government officials, be they heads of agencies, should not allow themselves political assessments or attacks.
Regarding the case of the helicopter crash near the village of Garmen, the Defence Minister said that the incident was likely caused by loss of orientation due to fog and reduced visibility in the mountainous area.