Bulgaria resumed military missions to Iraq Wednesday, sending non-combat troops to join multinational forces for the first time since December. Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev saw the 120-member unit off, saying Bulgaria was fulfilling its responsibilities as a member of the anti-terror coalition.
"The Iraqi people need to be supported by their new partners," Stanishev said. Last month, Bulgaria 's parliament endorsed a government decision under which Bulgaria will send 120 servicemen and a supporting team of 35 people on a one-year assignment in Iraq .
The decision opened the way for Bulgaria 's return to the multinational forces in Iraq after the withdrawal of its 450-strong infantry battalion in December. The unit will be under U.S. command and will help guard the Ashraf refugee camp, situated some 70 kilometers (45 miles) north of Baghdad . Bulgaria has lost 13 soldiers in Iraq since August 2003, when it joined the U.S.-led forces. Seven died in insurgent attacks, one was killed by U.S. troops in a friendly fire incident and five died in vehicle accidents, reports the AP.
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now