BTA News

Secretary General Stoltenberg: Bulgaria Is Valued as Reliable NATO Ally

Bulgaria is valued as a reliable NATO ally and its contribution to collective defence and security over its twenty years of membership is appreciated, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a briefing at the Council of Ministers after meeting earlier with Bulgarian caretaker Prime Minister Dimitar Glavchev.

On Monday, the two attended the spring session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly taking place at Sofia’s NDK Convention Centre. 

The Secretary General said that last year Bulgaria increased its defence spending by nearly 20% and allocated 2% of its GDP to defence spending, proving to be a reliable partner. He informed that at the meeting with Dimitar Glavchev they discussed preparations for the NATO Summit in July in Washington, security risks and Ukraine.

Stoltenberg stressed that what NATO is doing in terms of support for Ukraine does not mean that the alliance is involved in the conflict. NATO’s role is to support Ukraine and prevent the escalation of the war, the secretary general explained. He stressed that NATO is not seeking conflict with Russia.

He stressed that NATO is not sending troops to Ukraine, but only helping Ukraine to defend itself.

According to Stoltenberg, it is necessary to step up arms production, to strengthen NATO’s security role – not only with regard to Ukraine. NATO have made many promises to help Ukraine but this is not enough and all allies need to do more. The world is very uncertain and NATO needs to be prepared, he said. He said the whole alliance needed to step up aid to Ukraine. 

He said support for Ukraine should be more coordinated and that NATO should have a greater role in coordinating this support. 

Russia has violated the sovereignty of another country and this broke international law. The Russian attack in Ukraine is a violation of international law, Stoltenberg pointed out. It is under this international law that Ukraine has the right to self-defence. Ukrainians have the right to defend themselves against Russian aggression and we have the right, as allies, to help Ukraine in its right to self-defence, he said. 

Taking a question from the press, Stoltenberg said that NATO is increasing its presence in the Black Sea region and has battlegroups in Romania and Bulgaria. In this way, NATO is also stepping up its monitoring and its ability to react very quickly if there is a threat, he said. For the moment, an immediate threat is not seen but, with the war in Ukraine, it is necessary to increase vigilance in the Black Sea region so that the Alliance can react if necessary, the NATO Secretary General said.