Bulgarian Defense Minister Warns Against Kremlin's Hybrid Threats in the Black Sea Region

Defense | November 28, 2023, Tuesday // 18:11|  views

The Minister of Defense Todor Tagarev participated in the conference "Countering hybrid threats from unconventional weapons in the Black Sea region", which was held today, November 28, in Sofia. The forum is organized by the Center for the Study of Democracy and the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation at the US State Department. “I see hybrid threats as the combined activities that take place continuously to reduce the capacity and will to resist malicious influences. Russia continues to implement an aggressive strategy to destabilize the countries of the Black Sea region," said Minister Tagarev in his speech during the conference. He emphasized that the spread of disinformation and propaganda is a major element of the Kremlin's hybrid war against countries in our region, including Bulgaria and Romania. "This strategy amounts to cognitive warfare, through which Russia tries to achieve its geopolitical ambitions by manipulating public perceptions and using instilled fears. The Kremlin's cognitive warfare is multi-pronged and aims to control our positions on political, economic, social and cultural issues and destabilize democratic systems of governance," he added.

"The Kremlin's disinformation strategy in the Black Sea region uses Russian economic influence. Russia's disinformation activities are multi-layered, actively relying on leaders of influence. This approach is intended to make it difficult to distinguish between governmental and non-governmental actors and, as a result, to prove the Kremlin's involvement in specific malicious activities," the defense minister explained.

Minister Tagarev recalled that since the beginning of the war against Ukraine, the Kremlin has several times and openly threatened to use its nuclear arsenal, pointing to specific statements of Russian politicians. He highlighted actions such as the occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is the largest in Europe, plans to deploy Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, as well as the very increase in the level of readiness of Russia's nuclear forces, which put nuclear safety at risk and security in the Black Sea region.

"The security cooperation in the Black Sea region and the strategic partnership within the framework of the EU and NATO are crucial to harmonize efforts to deter and counter the Kremlin's hybrid strategy and to strengthen our defense capabilities," the defense minister said. He emphasized the essential importance of increasing the interoperability of NATO forces and strengthening the Alliance's positions in the Black Sea region through joint exercises, exercises and training, building intelligence, surveillance, threat identification and early warning capacity, as well as defense modernization.

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Tags: hybrid threats, Tagarev, Bulgaria, defense


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