BTA News

Bulgarian President Radev Visits NATO Force Base in Kosovo

During his visit to NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) on Saturday, President Rumen Radev addressed the the Bulgarian contingent at the base: “The deterioration of the security environment in a regional, global plan requires action accordingly, and you are here on behalf of Bulgaria to make our contribution as a country, a worthy, reliable member of NATO, a member of the EU, a country that contributes to guaranteeing peace, security and stability”. 

The President held a meeting with KFOR Commander Major General Ozkan Ulutas, as well as with the national commander of the contingent, Lieutenant Colonel Boyko Tsvetanov. Radev stressed that without security and stability there is no socioeconomic development. 

President Rumen Radev is on a two-day visit to Kosovo at the invitation of his counterpart Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu.

Radev congratulated the servicemen from the Bulgarian contingent for being part of NATO KFOR and thanked them for the professional and responsible way of carrying out the mission. The President stated that the mission is extremely important not only for ensuring security, stability, peace and freedom of movement in Kosovo, it has a huge effect on the security and stability of the entire region, including Bulgaria. He highlighted how fragile the security environment is in Kosovo and gave the example of what happened in Banska in September. 

Radev expressed his satisfaction with the performance of the servicemen from the Bulgarian contingent in this multinational environment. 

Radev noted that currently extremely important decisions are being made about the future of the Bulgarian armed forces. There are several important issues to be resolved such as the acceleration of modernization. Bulgaria will allocate more and more funds for defence, said Radev and pointed out  that in 2024, 2% of GDP will be allocated to defence spending. 

The President pointed out that until recently, attention was focused on the three major projects for the modernization of the armed forces – aircraft, ships, infantry fighting vehicles. “For several years now, I have been pushing for a focus on much cheaper small projects, but with a large asymmetric advantage and informational superiority,” he added, noting that conflicts such as Russia’s war in Ukraine and what is happening in Israel have shown very clearly that cheap, affordable, commercial systems such as drones, which can achieve a huge effect in any military operation, are of great importance.

Radev noted that it is extremely important for this country to have the means to realize this, to have unmanned systems, autonomous systems, systems for radio-electronic warfare, for intelligence information, surveillance.

Radev also placed emphasis on staffing. The President appealed for emergency measures to attract qualified young people to the armed forces.

The President said that instead of the wold becoming safer, the security environment has deteriorated drastically, which means that the necessary attention and resources most be allocated in order to achieve highly prepared armed forces.

The national commander of the contingent, Lieutenant Colonel Boyko Tsvetanov, presented to the President and the Bulgarian contingent the objectives and tasks of the mission, as well as its structure. He noted that there were currently 33 people in the base, and a day ago some of the servicemen left for Bulgaria.

Radev presented an honourary plaque as a sign of appreciation to Boyko Tsvetanov. On his part, Tsvetanov also presented a plaque, that of the contingent, to Radev.