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Jan 5 2023

Italian Minister of Defence visits Multinational Battle Group Bulgaria over the holidays

Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria - Over the holidays, Guido Crosetto, Italian Minister of Defence, visited Bulgaria, where he meet his counterpart, the Bulgarian Minister of Defence Dimitar Stoyanov, and the Italian contingent deployed in support to NATO’s Multinational Battle Group Bulgaria at the Novo Selo Training Area, December 25, 2022.

In response to Russian’s invasion of Ukraine, NATO reinforced its vigilance and presence activities in Eastern Europe in 2021. NATO created multinational battle groups in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia in addition to the multinational battle groups already present in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

You are here to testify that Europe and NATO are present in a territory bordering a war that we have been enduring for almost a year. You convey the Italian support to the Alliance, that is opposing Russia to defend Ukraine

The Battle Group constituted March 1, 2022. Originally, Bulgaria was both the host nation and the framework nation with the objective of reinforcing the Alliance defence posture in Eastern Europe. After declaring its Initial Operational Capability, Italy became framework nation on October 17, after participating in the mission with a contingent of almost 740 Soldiers from the Mechanised Brigade “Pinerolo”.

The framework nation serves as the core of the battle group, providing a majority of personnel, capabilities and the command element with Ally nations providing additional personnel and capabilities. Apart from Italy and Bulgaria, personnel from Albania, Greece, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and United States of America are also contributing to the battle group in Bulgaria. Turkey will join in the next months.

The Multinational Battle Group Bulgaria reached its Full Operational Capability on December 14.

During his visit, Crosetto addressed the Multinational Battle Group Bulgaria Soldiers to whom he expressed his extreme satisfaction and praise for the important work they have been doing to grant security and stability to Europe’s Eastern Flank.

“I want to thank all of you. You will celebrate Christmas far from home to defend the interests of our country and peace”, said Crosetto.

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