Russian Defense Ministry receives no appeals from Bulgaria about violation of flight rules

 “We, and not only we, would like to have explanations from Mr. Minister how far away from Bulgaria’s air borders the imaginary zone of NATO airspace lies?” Major General Igor Konashenkov said

© Valerij Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, July 25 /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry has received no appeals from the Bulgarian Defense Ministry that Russian military planes allegedly violated flight rules in the Bulgarian zone of NATO airspace and is asking it for explanations, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said commenting remarks by Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev at the local NovaTV channel.

“We could not conceal our surprise when we heard Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev saying in his speech on Nova TV that last month had seen the growing number of violations by Russian military planes, which had their ADS-B transponders off, of the Bulgarian zone of responsibility of NATO airspace,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said.

“First of all, we, and not only we, would like to have explanations from Mr. Minister how far away from Bulgaria’s air borders the imaginary zone of NATO airspace lies? The planes of Russian Aerospace Forces make planned regular flights over the Black Sea. Their flight routes lie in strict compliance with international rules of using the airspace over neutral waters. Besides, all the planes, which have made the flights recently, including in June, had their ADS-B transponders on,” Konashenkov said.

Despite Nenchev’s words, the Russian Defense Ministry has not received any appeals or requests from the Bulgarian Defense Ministry.

“Therefore, prior to speaking into TV cameras about preventive reaction measures, which the Bulgarian Defense Ministry is taking, we would recommend Mr. Minister to check the reports of his subordinates about the real state of things first,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

In an interview with Nova TV given on Sunday, Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev claimed that Russian military planes had entered the Bulgarian zone of responsibility in the NATO airspace with their transponders off four times over the past week.

Bulgaria demanded explanations from Moscow calling the incident a provocation against Bulgaria and its armed forces. “We are taking preventive measures,” the Bulgarian defense minister stressed.

 

Moscow Denies Bulgaria’s Claims of Violating NATO Airspace by Russian Planes

Su-27

 

The Russian Defense Ministry dismissed Sophia’s claims of Russian planes allegedly violating NATO airspace over the Black Sea.

On Sunday, Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev said that Russian warplanes crossed into the so-called “Bulgarian zone of responsibility” with switched off transponders four times during the previous month. He demanded explanations from Moscow calling the alleged incidents “provocations of Bulgaria and its Air Force.” He added that Sophia was “taking preventive measures.”

“Russian military planes regularly carry out flights over the Black Sea strictly along the routes authorized by international rules  of the use of airspace over the neutral waters,” the ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

“Moreover, all flights, including those in June, have been conducted with switched-on transponders,” Konashenkov stressed.

The spokesman added that Russia had not received so far any requests from the Bulgarian side for explanation of alleged violations, contrary to claims by the Bulgarian minister.

Bulgaria Rejects NATO Fleet in the Black Sea, Romania Hurriedly Backs Off

An anti-submarine rocket blasts off a rocket launcher from the Bulgarian navy frigate Drazki during the BREEZE 2014 military drill in the Black Sea on July 11, 2014

 

Bulgaria’s prime minister firmly ruled out his country’s participation in the proposed NATO fleet in the Black Sea aimed at countering Russian forces in the area: “I don’t need war,” the politician said after Russia promised a response; meanwhile Romania’s president, one of the initiators, has hurriedly backed off.

“I always say that I want the Black Sea to see sailboats, yachts, large boats with tourists and not become an arena of military action… I do not need a war in the Black Sea,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said on Thursday referring to the proposal for the NATO fleet in the Black Sea made by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis while visiting Bulgaria on June 15-16.

“Our country will not become part of the Black Sea fleet being prepared against Russia,” Borissov said as quoted by EurActiv.com website.

“To send warships as a fleet against Russian ships exceeds the limit of what I can allow,” Borissov told reporters in Sofia on Thursday, as cited by Bloomberg.

“To deploy destroyers, aircraft carriers near [the resort cities of] Bourgas or Varna during the tourist season is unacceptable.”

Klaus Iohannis has quickly backed off, insisting that “the Black Sea naval initiative regards joint training and exercises and that NATO cannot and does not want to keep a fleet in the Black Sea,” Romanian news agency Agerpres reported on Thursday.

“The initiative I introduced to the Bulgarian President and Prime Minister is an initiative designed for cooperation in the area of joint exercises and joint training of the Romanian, Bulgarian and Turkish naval forces. This is the so-called naval initiative, and it does not comprise all naval forces, just joint exercises and training,” the agency quotes the Romanian leader as saying in response to recent statements by the Bulgarian prime minister.

The Romanian president apparently said that “the initiative should be deployed under the NATO umbrella, because all the three Black Sea countries — Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey — are NATO allies.”

”Where the misunderstanding probably emerged was in relation to the concept of a NATO fleet. Nobody creates a NATO fleet. That would be nonsense. NATO cannot and does not want to keep its own Black Sea fleet,” Agerpres quotes Iohannis as explaining.

‘We will board the ships, we will waive our flags, but only Bulgaria and Romania”, the Bulgarian prime minister said, adding that any other scenarios could lead to a military conflict.

After the USS Porter (DDG-78), armed with assault cruise missiles and an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (primary weapon: Standard Missile 3), entered the Black Sea last week, Moscow promised “response measures” to Washington.

“If a decision is made to create a permanent force, of course, it would be destabilizing, because this is not a NATO sea,” Andrey Kelin, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s European Cooperation Department then said.

“If a decision is made to create a permanent force, of course, it would be destabilizing, because this is not a NATO sea,” he added.Under the Montreux Convention, countries which don’t have a Black Sea coastline cannot keep their warships there for more than 21 days. NATO members Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria are all Black Sea Basin countries.

Earlier reports of the Balkan Insight website however suggest that Bucharest is urging NATO to create a permanent alliance fleet in the Black Sea in a “move aimed to counter Russia’s strong involvement in the region.”

The website said that as early as February Romanian Defense Minister Mihnea Motoc announced that Romania is taking the first steps to negotiate with NATO to set up a regular multinational naval patrol in the Black Sea.

“The possibility of creating such a fleet might be discussed at the next NATO summit in July,” Motoc then said. He added that Romania must be ready by then with a clear plan and proposal.

The outlet also added that the regular flotilla might include ships from NATO countries bordering the Black Sea, namely Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, but also from Germany, Italy and the United States.

The Bulgarian prime minister was not that optimistic. He said that his country was among the most loyal EU countries and was doing what was expected from the European family. But he added that there was no way that Bulgaria would be attacked by Russia.“You remember how our nuclear reactors from the Belene central left for Turkey. Not a single colleague spoke in my defense when President Putin, in the presence of Erdogan, waived his finger at me, saying that Bulgaria lost everything”, EurActive quotes Borissov as saying.

The website adds that “indeed, under Western pressure, Bulgaria abandoned plans to build a nuclear central with Russian technology, and gave up the South Stream gas pipeline project. Putin made strong statements against Bulgaria, and in January 2015, Borissov warned that his country faced an energy catastrophe.”

The International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce in Geneva ruled in favor of the Russian Atomstroyexport company and ordered to pay €620 million in compensation from Bulgaria to Russia.