Valentin Tsankov, a Bulgarian Brigadier General, gave an interview to Dir.bg publication, in which he compared the current state of affairs in the Black Sea with events that had happened on the border of the Soviet Union and Germany before the Great Patriotic War. The Bulgarian general warned of the risk of a military confrontation between Russia and NATO.
The Black Sea has become a place of direct contact between the armed forces of Russia and NATO. Naval exercises are regularly conducted there, which indicates that the parties prepare for real military action.
Tsankov drew attention to NATO's unprecedented Sea Breeze 2021 exercise and pointed out Russia's dominant position in the region. The general noted that Russia opposes the exercise, defending its borders, and stressed that any other country would do the same.
According to Tsankov, the North Atlantic Alliance "demonstrates the non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea,” which is manifested in the increased presence of warships from the countries that do not have access to the Black Sea, especially US warships. The general believes that Washington thus tries to put pressure on Moscow, while the latter sees all that as a threat and builds up its military potential in response. All the above escalates tensions in the region and aggravates the relationship, the Bulgarian general believes.
Tsankov compared the situation in the region with the situation in 1939-1941, when the Soviet Union and Germany shared a border.
"This is the easiest way to start a war,” he said.
The general also pointed out that in the event Ukraine obtains NATO's global partner status, this may lead to the permanent deployment of NATO troops near the Russian borders. Ukraine is now playing the role of a buffer, he concluded.
NATO's largest international military exercise Sea Breeze 2021 kicked off on June 28. Five thousand soldiers from 32 countries, as well as 32 warships, 40 aircraft, 18 special operations teams and diving groups take part in the exercise. Some of them represent NATO countries.