Russia Plans to Wage Hybrid Warfare on Europe – Bulgarian President

Diplomacy | November 16, 2015, Monday // 12:12|  views

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev. Photo: BGNES

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev warned that Russia is planning to wage a “hybrid warfare” campaign aimed at destabilising the whole of Europe.

Plevneliev called on the EU and NATO to do more to counter the rising threat of Russian aggression.

The president accused Russia of launching massive cyber attacks on Bulgarian state institutions and violating the country's airspace.

According to him, Russian President Vladimir Putin is focusing his campaign on the Balkans as this is a very efficient and secure way to destabilise Europe.

Therefore, the Balkans should be in the very heart of the European security police, Plevneliev said in an interview for The Independent on Sunday.

His comments come after a meeting of the leaders of nine NATO member countries from Central and Eastern Europe in Bucharest earlier in November.

At the summit in Bucharest, the leaders expressed concern over the deteriorating security environment, which was the result of the aggressive and unpredictable behaviour of Russia.

Plevneliev reminded that the websites of the Bulgarian government, parliament and Central Election Commission (CIK) were hacked several times between October 25 and November 1, when the two rounds of the local elections took place in the country.

According to him, “there are very few countries in the world that can organise such attacks”.

He also pointed that Russian military was stepping up incursions into the “security zone” airspace over the Black Sea and since the annexation of Crimea last year, Bulgaria has seen ten times more violations by Russian military planes.

In his opinion, the attacks are constituting the latest assault in the hybrid warfare on western countries using direct and indirect aggression.

Plevneliev criticised senior NATO partners of not being forceful enough in responding to the Russian actions.

The Bulgarian president was also critical towards European countries for failing to deal with the events in the Middle East and North Africa, especially the escalation of the conflict in Syria.

He called on the EU and Turkey to play a more active role in reaching a lasting solution to the Syrian crisis.

In order for this, Russia, the US, Iran and Saudi Arabia should also be involved in the negotiations.

Plevneliev accused western leaders, especially EU member states, of failing to act until a crisis had fully erupted, pointing to the ongoing refugee crisis.

According to him, only Bulgaria and Germany registered refugees in compliance with the Dublin regulation, this being ignored by countries such as Greece, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary and Austria.

In his opinion, refugees have started to avoid Bulgaria due to the strict policy pursued by the country.

As regards the Schengen Area, he noted that both Bulgaria and Romania are disappointed that their accession was postponed despite the two countries have fulfilled all technical requirements.

According to him, the accession to the Schengen Area will greatly improve the country's economic prospects.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev, Russia, hybrid warfare, EU, NATO, airspace, cyber attack, Vladimir Putin, Balkans, Crimea, Black Sea, Syria, turkey, refugee crisis, Schengen Area


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