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(DF) Bulgaria to Deploy 2,000 Troops in Q Defender Europe 21 Exercises

April 27 (BTA) – Bulgaria will deploy some 2,000 troops in the DEFENDER-Europe 21 exercises, Lieutenant General Lyubcho Todorov, Commander of the Joint Forces Command, who is responsible for the conduct of the exercises on Bulgarian territory, told a news conference here on Tuesday. Over 6,000 foreign troops will take part in these exercises in Bulgaria, but their number will vary by period. The Bulgarian Armed Forces will be involved in the DEFENDER-Europe 21 series of interconnected exercises, which will be led by the U.S. Army Europe and Africa and will take place in the Black Sea region, in the Balkans and in Estonia between March and mid-June 2021. There, some 28,000 troops of 26 NATO Member States and Partner Countries hone interoperability in simultaneous defence operations at more than 30 training areas in 12 countries. Asked whether DEFENDER-Europe 21 responds to other operations near NATO’s borders, Major General Christopher O. Mohan, Commanding General of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command of the U.S. Army Europe and Africa, said that the purpose of the exercise is to practise together, to train together and to build interoperabilty. In his opinion, the exercise is defensive in nature and focuses on deterring a possible aggression, while the forces are preparing to respond to crises or enage in broad-scale combat operations if necessary. Major General Mohan described Bulgaria as a highly appreciated Ally and singled out the country’s leadership and its commitment to regional security in the Black Sea region and the Balkans. He said that the US supports Bulgaria’s military modernization effort. DEFENDER-Europe 21 will encompass several linked exercises, including Swift Response, Saber Guardian, Immediate Response, and Defender Europe. Lieutenant General Todorov presented the Bulgarian participation in the exercises. In May-June 2021 in Bulgaria, Saber Guardian will include three national exercises with international participation: Strike Back 21, Balkan Sentinel 21 and Shabla 21, a special operations exercise called Trojan Footprint – South, the Swift Response exercise including airborne operations, and the command post exercise Defender Europe. RI/LG //