Bulgaria wary as Russia steps up military flights over Black Sea
Published on Apr 2, 2014 1:32 AM
SOFIA (REUTERS) - Bulgaria has put on high alert or deployed its air force about 30 times in two months in response to a recent spike in Russian military aircraft flying near its aerial borders on the Black Sea, its defence minister said on Tuesday.
Both the West and Russia have carried out a series of military drills as a show of force in the worsening standoff over Russia's annexation of Crimea, which has sparked retaliatory sanctions from Washington and Brussels.
NATO said it was "considering all options" as it studied new steps to bolster its military presence in eastern Europe on Tuesday, while saying it saw no sign that Russia was withdrawing tens of thousands of troops from the Ukranian boarder.
Despite its longstanding friendship with former Cold War ally Russia, Bulgaria joined NATO 10 years ago and has twice participated in navy drills with a US warship in the Black Sea since the Ukraine crisis. It is also currently hosting a two-week military exercise that includes Ukrainian and U.S.
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