AMSTERDAM, ($1=0.88 Euro) – Two fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighters of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) are heading to Bulgaria in the coming months due to growing tensions between Ukraine and Russia, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing Dutch media.
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According to the information spread, the two fighters will take part in NATO missions in the region to ensure the security of the Eastern European member states of the North Atlantic Alliance. The Dutch media point out that this is the first foreign mission of their fighters.
The two F-35s will be landed at Graf Ignatievo Air Base near Plovdiv in central Bulgaria. BulgarianMilitary.com reminds us that Sofia has already ordered eight F-16 Block 70/72 fighters from the 4th generation, and the first two are expected in the coming months. During this period, the Dutch F-35 together with the Bulgarian MiG-29 will ensure security in the region.
Defense Minister Kaisa Olongren said her country intends to launch arms supplies to Ukraine due to “the alarming build-up of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine.” their preparation before a possible conflict with Russia.
BulgarianMilitary.com reminded that only a day ago, on Friday, January 21, the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov again set conditions for NATO and the United States to reduce NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe. Lavrov stressed that Russia “wants NATO troops to be withdrawn from Romania and Bulgaria.”
In response, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry responded to Russia by saying that “Bulgaria is not a second-hand NATO member” and that “NATO membership is enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria” – therefore these are Bulgarian troops.
Tensions on the Ukrainian border, where Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops, have intensified in recent weeks. US President Joe Biden said he expected a Russian invasion on Wednesday. Although Moscow denies any plans to invade, the Kremlin warns almost daily of the risk of escalation from increased NATO troop build-up and “aggression” from Ukraine.
Negotiations between Moscow and Washington, including a ban on further NATO enlargement, have so far yielded nothing. This week, British military transport planes brought a large number of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine.
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