Bulgaria's Defense Ministry denounced Russia's systematic War Crimes in UkraineDefense | April 4, 2023, Tuesday // 18:25| views
@Ministry of Defense
"The war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine was the main factor with a destabilizing influence on the strategic environment, which determined the national security challenges. Hybrid threats, terrorism, authoritarian regimes, migration waves, organized crime, cybercrime and cognitive impacts were among the main challenges for national and union security and, globally, grain supplies. The unjustified war in Ukraine, which was started in complete violation of international law, caused particularly large-scale damage to all spheres of social and economic life. The Russian armed forces committed systematic war crimes."
This is how the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense assesses Russia's war in Ukraine in the 2022 report on the state of defense and the Bulgarian armed forces. The document was approved by a decision of the caretaker government on Monday (April 3) for submission to the National Assembly.
Despite these unequivocal assessments of Russia's war in Ukraine, and although the report verbally claims that Bulgaria stands in solidarity with the attacked country and supports its legitimate efforts and actions to oppose Russian aggression, including by providing military aid, the caretaker cabinet of President Rumen Radev is trying by all means to prevent the implementation of the decision of the 48th National Assembly to provide military aid to Kyiv.
The report also states that the war has led to the expansion of Russian hybrid subversive activity against NATO and EU member states, and Bulgaria has also been subject to systemic Russian hybrid impacts, including through the unilateral interruption of gas supplies. The purpose of these actions is mainly aimed at:
- influencing sovereign national strategic decision-making;
- creating internal political destabilization and public opposition;
- hindering the strengthening of the Union's deterrence and defense potential;
- reducing solidarity and support for Ukraine and providing timely and effective military assistance;
- continued dependence on Russian energy supplies.
The Bulgarian military also points out that Russia's indirect attempts to create a second zone of instability in the Western Balkans and specifically Bosnia and Herzegovina, taking advantage of the existing problems and contradictions in the Balkans, played a destructive role.
"The potential for destabilization of Bosnia and Herzegovina remains as a result of the separatist initiatives of the Bosnian Serb leaders, supported by the Kremlin. The strong Russian influence also remained in Serbia. The mediation and presence of the international community in Kosovo remained the main guarantor of the restraint of Belgrade and Pristina from actions with a negative impact on regional stability. The importance of NATO and EU operations is preserved," the report states.
Major shortage of personnel in the army
Otherwise, the report presents several main problems in the army. One of them is the large shortage of military personnel, with the non-commissioned workforce increasing to 19.7 percent. It is specified that the most serious is the situation in ground forces, which disrupts their readiness capabilities. The failure to increase the interest of candidates with higher salaries is also highlighted.
What weaponry should be acquired
The main projects to be implemented by the army are:
- acquisition of 155 mm howitzers;
- rocket salvo fire system;
- new three-coordinate radars;
- anti-aircraft missile complexes;
- remotely controlled systems, unmanned aerial vehicles and means to counter them;
- command and control systems;
- cyber defense capabilities;
- coastal anti-ship complexes and submarines.
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