by Max Barry

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Region: Greater Middle East

Bolzharia

Новините - Софийска информационна агенция
10 май 2020 г.

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE SIGNS CONTRACT FOR EQUIPMENT MODERNISATION

The Ministry of Defence and a conglomeration of Bulgarian defence companies signed an agreement today for the modernisation of reserve military equipment, to be brought back into regular service following recent legislative changes. The government identified the poor state of the Armed Forces a key and pressing issue facing the nation in an address a few weeks ago, and has been a priority of President Vasilev since winning the election in 2019. In a storage unit in Montana, mass amounts of equipment left from the rapid decline of the Bulgarian Armed Forces in the 1990s and early 2000s sits unused, and it has been deemed more economically and budgetarily appropriate to seek to refurbish, modernise and extend the lifespan of this equipment, rather than seek newer, more expensive equipment. A reason given by the Chief-of-Staff General Varbakov was that more senior members of the Armed Forces are also familiar with the equipment, and that modernising would not require a new training span for recruits, thus cutting costs down to a minimum. In reaction to this, the MoD will be assessing former military installations with the interest of rebuilding and reinstating these centres for use by the newly expanding military. The list of facilities has not been made public, though rumours suggest that 3 airbases will be reopened and 2 army camps along the borders with Serbia and Turkey will be reinstated.

NUCLEAR POWER PROJECTS COMPLETED

Following months of work, BulgarAtom has confirmed the completion of the Kozludoy and Belene NPP in the north of the country. Combined, they are expected to cover over 60% of national electrical consumption, and have been hailed as a landmark achievement for the nation in the 21st century. President Vasilev, accompanied by supervising directors of the plants, toured the complexes today, where the President commented that the plants "showed the great potential of Bulgarian engineering and science, and will lead the way forward for our nation". The plants, funded in part by the European Union, will become the primary source of energy for the nation, and have now made the Maritsa-Iztok plants largely obsolete. It is unclear what will happen to the large coal-fired complex, though rumours of it's demolition or even conversion to a nuclear power station have been circulating upper levels of the Bulgarian body politic. To complement this, Bulgarian mining companies have restarted uranium mining in Sozopol, with the intention of providing a fresh supply of fuel for the plants. The government when asked about the supplies of uranium already being kept in storage around Sofia, commented that "they will be put to good use, and will remain in Bulgaria despite foreign interest". The plants are expected to become operational within the next few weeks.

POPULATION DIVIDED OVER RUSSIA RELATIONS

Following one of biggest disasters for Bulgarian-Russian relations recently, the population has become divided over the issue, and the topic has become a large point of controversy across the nation. At the Victory Day celebrations in Sofia, many were seen to be waving Russian and Soviet flags, indicating that the national mood is still one of Russophilia, particularly amongst the older generations. Despite support for the European Union remaining high, attitudes towards the West as the principle ally for Bulgaria are and have been low since the fall of Communism in 1989. This is furthered by the government, as many members of the more senior institutions and organs have expressed pro-Russian sentiment, and have consistently identified these sentiments even during their time in power. Bulgaria remains a nation divided between the new world and the old, and many are still unsure of which way to turn.

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