Kremlin Aims to Sway Bulgarian Elections, Says Acting Defense Minister

Defense | May 25, 2024, Saturday // 11:41|  views

According to Acting Defense Minister Atanas Zapryanov, the Kremlin aims to directly influence the upcoming elections in June. Zapryanov made this statement at the opening of the spring session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which runs from today until May 27. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is expected to attend the Assembly meeting.

Zapryanov emphasized that Bulgaria anticipates actions related to disinformation during the elections. As an example, he cited fake news about sending Bulgarian military personnel to Ukraine. He also mentioned that pro-Kremlin parties' claims that Bulgaria's support for Ukraine would drag the country into the war constitute a hybrid threat. According to Zapryanov, these disinformation campaigns are part of broader efforts to influence Bulgaria's internal political processes.

The minister highlighted that such influence extends to the European elections as well. He stressed that due to these threats, the Black Sea region and the Western Balkans should become a focal point for NATO to strengthen the eastern flank. Zapryanov expects the upcoming NATO summit in the United States to reinforce Euro-Atlantic solidarity and policies, noting the recommendation for 2% of gross domestic product to be allocated for defense.

Chief of Defense Admiral Emil Evtimov informed the delegates that Bulgaria is concentrating on regional defense planning and its development plan until 2032. He highlighted the new capabilities that Bulgaria will gain with the acquisition of new fighters, patrol ships, and a cyber command.

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Tags: Zapryanov, NATO, Bulgaria, Kremlin

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