With the pretext of “preventing regional threats” the US State Department has approved a new package confirming the further strengthening of US-Bulgaria military cooperation. This package entails the sale of 183 armored vehicles to Bulgaria.
In the backdrop of Sofia’s claimed “enhanced” role in countering the Euro-Atlantic bloc’s stance against Russia, the announcement emphasizes that the purpose of this sale is to enable Bulgaria to “leverage its increased capabilities to bolster its defense and act as a deterrent against regional threats.”
This sale, valued at $1.5 billion, includes Stryker-type vehicles, with roughly half designated for personnel transport. The announcement also highlights that the sale “will augment Bulgaria’s rapid infantry development and capabilities.” Approval from the American Senate is also required for the agreement’s execution.
It’s worth noting that during a summer event at the “Atlantic Council,” the US ambassador in Sofia, Kenneth Merten, revealed preparations for the upcoming round of the US-Bulgaria Bilateral Strategic Dialogue in Washington during the fall. He emphasized that this dialogue offers an opportunity for leaders to assess the substantial progress achieved in numerous areas of bilateral, regional, and global significance. These areas include security cooperation, energy diversification, regional integration, and the promotion of global democratic norms.
Merten praised Bulgaria for adapting to the significant disruptions in international energy markets caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He lauded Bulgaria’s efforts to diversify its natural gas sources, enhancing energy market resilience and overall regional energy security. He also recognized the country’s initiatives to diversify its nuclear energy resources.
Additionally, Merten highlighted the numerous joint exercises conducted annually between the two nations, which contribute to strengthening NATO’s defensive and deterrent capabilities and operational readiness. He acknowledged Bulgaria’s critical assistance, along with other NATO allies and EU member states, in supporting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.