BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – The US will provide a Stryker armored vehicle company for a NATO battlegroup in Bulgaria to bolster the military alliance’s defenses amid Russia’s war on Ukraine, the Bulgarian prime minister said on Saturday.
“The war started by Vladimir Putin has put all of Europe at risk. No country can afford the illusion of complete security. No one can defend themselves alone,” Kiril Petkov said at a joint press conference with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in the capital Sofia.
“Bulgaria’s security also depends on our common defenses with our NATO allies. We are NATO.”
He said the US’ support for the battlegroup “is a strong sign to all our allies in NATO,” adding that Bulgaria expects contributions from other member states.
Austin hailed Bulgaria’s move to establish a multinational military unit under NATO command.
“We fully support this important step taken by Bulgaria. Our joint engagements will set an example for other allies,” he said.
“Increasing Bulgaria’s military readiness and working cohesion with its allies is really key these days, as Europe faces one of its greatest security threats in generations.”
Terming the war in Ukraine “a tragedy,” Austin said Russia’s actions had driven home the need for a unified stance against Moscow.
“Russia’s attacks have caused terrible casualties among the brave Ukrainian soldiers and innocent civilians. But at the same time, Russia’s aggression united the Ukrainian people, NATO and the free world,” he added.
“The US will continue to stand strong with Bulgaria and our other NATO allies. We will continue to work together for lasting peace and security in Europe.”