NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Sofia

site.btaUPDATED Defence Minister Zapryanov Outlines Forum’s Main Topics

Defence Minister Zapryanov Outlines Forum’s Main Topics
Defence Minister Zapryanov Outlines Forum’s Main Topics
BTA Photo

Addressing the participants in the spring session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which started on Saturday in Sofia’s NDK culture and conference centre, caretaker Defence Minister  Atanas Zapryanov said that security in this region is achievable only with the practical and sustained contribution of NATO and the focused commitment of the EU. Nearly 400 delegates from the 32 NATO member states and 25 partner countries and parliamentary organisations are taking part.

Minister Zapryanov highlighted three important themes in the discussions during the Parliamentary Assembly session: support for Ukraine, priorities and expectations for the NATO Summit in Washington, and security in the Black Sea region.

"Bulgaria is focused on strengthening national defence within NATO. We are currently implementing weapons and equipment modernization projects in all types of armed forces and in all operational domains," the Defence Minister said. He noted that everything possible must be done to strengthen NATO's deterrence and defence capabilities in the Black Sea, as an integral and key part of the entire eastern flank.

"In addition, to strengthen our defence capabilities, we are looking at options for deploying air defence systems and coastal missile systems of NATO allies on our territory. This step will reinforce our deterrence readiness message," he added.

"As the Russian aggression against Ukraine is a direct challenge to our security, we will continue to support Ukraine in its legitimate actions to counter the Russian military invasion and restore its territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders," Zapryanov said.

According to him, the Kremlin aims to directly influence the upcoming elections in June. “Bulgaria is a target of Russia's hybrid aggression, we are in the focus of active processes and disinformation campaigns trying to influence our domestic political processes,” the Defence Minister said, adding that regarding Russia, the Bulgarian state is prepared and expecting such disinformation activities in connection with the upcoming elections on June 9.

Within the framework of the NATO PA spring session, Zapryanov met with a parliamentary delegation from the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. 

"Bulgaria's consistent and firm support for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders remains unchanged," the Defence Minister said. He stressed that Ukraine's future lies at the heart of the European security architecture and within NATO and Bulgarian assistance will continue as long as necessary. 

The meeting was attended by Chief of Defence Admiral Emil Eftimov and Deputy Defence Minister Radostin Iliev.

/MT/

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By 23:05 on 20.06.2024 Today`s news

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