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  • Borislav Ivanov

Russia demands the withdraw of NATO troops from Bulgaria and Romania

Russia has presented NATO with a handful of absolutely preposterous and ludicrous demands, that will and should absolutely not be met by any shape or form. The list of demands includes the complete withdraw of NATO troops from Bulgaria and Romania, which are sovereign countries, and members of both NATO and the EU. Russia wants the military alliance to return to its 1997 borders, and not expand further east, which would bar Sweden, Finland, Ukraine, and Moldova from joining. In addition to all of this, Moscow has asked for a guarantee that no new NATO military bases are going to be built in ex-Soviet countries (which include the sovereign Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia).

Credit: Saul Loeb, REUTERS

Washington, which is holding high-level discussions to prevent a future invasion of Ukraine by tens of thousands of Russian troops stationed near its borders, has dismissed Moscow's demands as "non-starters."

The Foreign Ministry has stated the following: “One of the main elements of our initiatives is consciously formulated very clearly and does not allow any ambiguous interpretations. We’re talking about the withdrawal of foreign forces, equipment and weapons and other steps to return to the 1997 configuration. These include Bulgaria and Romania.”

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The Russian proposal was deemed "inappropriate" by Romania's foreign ministry on Friday, adding that it "cannot be part of a discussion."

According to Romania, NATO's presence in partner nations is "purely defensive in response to Russia's increasingly hostile behavior in the eastern area... which is presently intensifying despite NATO's attempts to engage in constructive discourse."

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Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov told parliament on Friday, "Bulgaria is a sovereign nation, and we have long made our choice by joining NATO."

"As such, we determine alone how to organize our country's defense in collaboration with our allies," he added.

He went on to say that the NATO Treaty does not include "second-category member nations for whom collective defense is to be implemented selectively or within a limited scope."

"We urge the Russian Federation to continue engaging in constructive discussions in order to de-escalate tensions."

The Russian Foreign Ministry accused NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg of "unceremoniously applying pressure" on non-aligned Finland and Sweden to join NATO in the face of Russia's likely invasion of Ukraine in a statement issued on Friday.

Credit: Ilti Mehmedov

Our opinion: These demands are absolutely unacceptable. In response, Bulgaria and Romania should station an enormous amount of NATO troops, as now they have been directly threatened by Russia. NATO must station a large number of submarines, fighter jets, warships, tanks, and even airplane carriers in Bulgaria and Romania. In addition to that, the alliance should consider investing into expanding and modernizing the military infrastructures of both countries, which would include better railways, additional bridges over the Danube River, better roads, and additional naval bases and airfields.

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