A NATO member is accusing Russia of deliberately violating NATO air space.
Bulgaria Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev said that a Russian aircraft had entered “Bulgaria’s area of responsibility” in NATO airspace several times this month. In fact, it is believed that the aircraft made its way to the area as much as four times. Each time, Nenchev said that the Russian planes would turn off their communications devices so they cannot be located.
Following the incidents, Bulgaria has been demanding an explanation from Russia regarding the violation committed by its planes, according to a report from PressTV. On the other hand, Russian news agency TASS reported that Moscow has denied flight violations conducted by their planes recently.
On local television, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov addressed Nenchev’s accusation, saying, “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.”
Konashenkov said that the planes from the Russian Aerospace Forces had been making planned regular flights over the Black Sea with their routes “in strict compliance” with international rules when it comes to using an airspace over neutral waters. Moreover, Konashenkov insisted that the ADS-B transponders of the said the flights were turned on.
As the issue between Russia and Bulgaria presses on, The U.S. Navy has announced that it recently held its opening ceremony for a series of military exercises that will be held over the Black Sea. Sea Breeze is an annual exercise that began in 1997. It is hosted by both the United States and Ukraine.
For the Sea Breeze exercises, participating countries will strengthen their partnership and interoperability on land, air, and sea. It will include realistic training in anti-submarine warfare, air defense, damage control as well as search and rescue operations.
NATO and the U.S. are yet to issue a statement regarding Bulgaria’s accusations regarding Russia.