понеделник, 19 април 2021

Position of the Atlantic Council of Bulgaria

The Atlantic Council of Bulgaria (ACB) is watching with growing concern, and finds that the malicious activity of the Russian Federation both against Bulgaria and our allies and partners in NATO not only continues, but also intensifies. The threat of Russian military intervention in the Black Sea region is growing with each passing day and poses a serious risk both to Bulgaria’s security and to peace in Europe and in the world.

The ACB calls on the Parliament, the Government and the President of the Republic of Bulgaria to take urgent measures to finally break our country’s dependence on the Russian Federation, especially in the field of energy and defense, to intensively build the operational capabilities of the Bulgarian Armed Forces and to limit and prevent the opportunities for subversive activity of the Russian special services on the territory of Bulgaria.

The ACB proposes, as a matter of highest priority and urgency that the following measures be taken to find adequate prompt regulatory expression and decisive enforcement action:

  1. Terminate the project for construction of Belene nuclear power plant;
  2. Impose a moratorium on the construction of gas compressor stations „Nova Provadia“ and „Rasovo“ on the route of the gas pipeline „Turkish Stream“ through Bulgaria;
  3. Make every effort to complete by September this year the construction of the deliberately delayed with more than 10 years gas interconnector with Greece;
  4. Terminate the Lukoil monopoly on the fuel market in Bulgaria by stimulating the import and distribution of petroleum products other than from the Russian Federation;
  5. Prohibit any new contracts with the Russian military-industrial complex for repair, maintenance and modernization of the remaining Soviet armaments and military equipment in the Bulgarian armed forces. The same applies to Belorussia, whose military-industrial complex is inextricably linked with Russia;
  6. Prohibit passage through the Bulgarian airspace of any aircraft carrying Russian military equipment, weapons and/or military servicemen;
  7. Begin immediate negotiations with the United States for the acquisition of eight more F-16 aircraft;
  8. Initiate a permanent mission for joint air policing with aircraft of NATO allies, especially of the United States;
  9. Ratify immediately the protocol with Romania that allows NATO Allied fighter aircraft stationed in Bulgaria or Romania to conduct cross-border airspace operations;
  10. Ask the United States to deploy the Patriot anti-aircraft missile defense system on our Black Sea coast as a measure of confidence in view of the situation in the region;
  11. Request a NATO assessment of the possibilities to form and establish on the Bulgarian territory permanent multinational land, air and naval NATO military units;
  12. Sign as soon as possible a contract for acquisition of new combat vehicles for the Land Forces and accelerate the work on the acquisition of new 3D radars;
  13. Reduce the number of personnel of the Bulgarian diplomatic mission in Russia to the average levels of our missions in the EU countries. Require from the Russian Federation to reduce the number of its diplomatic representatives to the levels of the Bulgarian ones in Russia. Strengthen the monitoring of the activities of Russian diplomats and immediately expel those for whom there are reasonable suspicions that they are engaged in espionage or sabotage on the territory of Bulgaria. Strengthen the control over the activities of the Russian Cultural Information Center in Sofia, the House of Moscow, as well as of the Russian legal and natural persons, carrying out commercial activity on the Bulgarian territory;
  14. Increase the control on the issuance of tourist visas to Russian citizens, paying special attention to, and conducting an in-depth study on the motives for visiting our country, for every person aged between 18 and 60, capable of handling firearms and explosives and having undergone military training;
  15. Inspect for possible connections with the armed forces and special services of the Russian Federation, all Russian citizens who own real estate in Bulgaria, who also have received visas with a facilitated regime for entering the country;
  16. Suspend the broadcasting on the territory of Bulgaria of all Russian television channels, as well as terminate the activity of the Russian disinformation internet sites in Bulgarian language;
  17. Remove from the Bulgarian soil all the monuments of the Soviet army, which occupied our country in September 1944 and which put the criminal Bulgarian Communist Party in power;
  18. Develop immediately a national strategy for counteracting the hybrid threats;

The ACB states that the attitude to these measures will be the litmus test for the members of the parliament, the ministers and the president of Bulgaria for being nationally responsible politicians.

The ACB will promptly inform the Bulgarian citizens about its final assessment, from which it will become clear which of those politicians defend the Russian, instead of the Bulgarian national interests, and which are Euro-Atlanticists in deeds, and not only in words.

The ACB, as an independent and non-partisan organization, will continue to pursue its mission as a civilian guarantor of the irreversibility of Bulgaria’s Euro-Atlantic choice and path of development.

The Governing Board of the Atlantic Council of Bulgaria