Bulgaria does not see the need for more NATO troops to be deployed to its territory, the Bulgarian defense minister said on Tuesday.
Over the weekend, German media reported that NATO’s top commander discussed the possibility of sending more troops to Bulgaria and Romania to counter Russia. Bulgarian Defense Minister Stefan Yanev confirmed that the talks happened but said such a move could escalate tensions in the region.
“My position is that such a debate, respectively an approach, has the potential to lead to an undesirable increase of tensions in the region,” Yenev wrote on Facebook. “In this sense, I do not believe that there are the necessary circumstances that can justify a decision related to the deployment of additional troops on our territory.”
The potential plan to move more troops to Bulgaria and Romania would extend NATO’s “Enhanced Forward Presence,” under which battlegroups are deployed to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. While Bulgaria is hesitant about the plan, Romanian leaders have recently called for the US to expand its presence in the region.
In November, Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu spoke at the Atlantic Council and said he asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken if the US would be sending more troops to Romania.
Romania doesn’t border Russia, but it does have a coast on the Black Sea, an area where the US and NATO have stepped up their presence. The US is funding a $152 million construction project at the former Soviet base in Camp Turzi, Romania, that will expand NATO’s capabilities in the Black Sea.