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Nov 10 2023


Novo Selo, Bulgaria – NATO Multinational Battlegroup Bulgaria successfully completed the joint exercise “Iron Strike 2023” at the Novo Selo training area in Bulgaria November 10, 2023.

In Novo Selo, near the Eastern border of Bulgaria, the NATO Multinational Battlegroup led by Italy and comprised of troops from Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, North Macedonia and the United States, demonstrated the integration and interoperability achieved between multinational units and the Bulgarian Armed Forces.

As part of NATO's commitment to deterrence and cohesive defense, the exercise showed the reaction capacity and combat power in conducting tactical defense actions against a hostile force, contributing to Bulgaria’s National Defence Plan if needed.

After what I saw here today, I am convinced that with the efforts of service members like you, that we will be successful in the end

“It is in the best interest of our national security, to create all the conditions as the host nation to the Battlegroup, to grow to the brigade level. Once again, we are grateful to all of you who stand with us, in our common efforts to secure a better and more secure environment for the prosperity of our nations,” says the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Mr. Nikolay Denkov. “After what I saw here today, I am convinced that with the efforts of service members like you, that we will be successful in the end.”

The Iron Strike exercise, based upon a NATO Article 5 scenario, is aimed at testing the Battle Group's ability to conduct collective maneuvers in an integrated manner and at strengthening the techniques, tactics and procedures of the NATO Battle Group in Bulgaria.

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Novo Selo, Bulgaria (Nov. 10, 2023) NATO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Mircea Geoană, and Multinational Bulgarian Battlegroup Commander Col. Michelangelo Genchi view an Italian Freccia Heavy Mortar vehicle variant..

“Standing here with you today, I see the true spirit of our allies, united in our values, indestructible in our common will and always adapting for a changing world,” said the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, Mr. Mircea Geoană.

“We face the most challenging security environment in decades. There is no better way to deter aggression and defend our people than what you are doing in practical terms here today. Training together. Exercising together. Becoming even more interoperable and, making sure that everyone around the world knows that we are ready to defend, deter and if needs be, quell” Mr. Geoană added.

During the training activity, more than 500 troops were trained and 75 combat vehicles were used, including: Italian Centauro armoured vehicle, Italian Freccia Heavy Mortar and Spike, Greek Improved Tow Vehicle M901, American Bradley Fighting, Albanian and North Macedonia High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle, Montenegro Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, Bulgaria T 72 tank and MT-LB multipurpose tracked armored vehicles. Furthermore, the Italian Central Skyguard U1 anti-aircraft systems, the American unmanned aerial vehicle SHADOW and 2 Bulgarian Sukhoi aircraft, were deployed.

“The Iron Strike 2023 represents an important opportunity to demonstrate the implementation and harmonization of the work that the Forward Land Forces Battle Group has been carrying out in Bulgaria for more than a year in close coordination with the NATO Commands and the Bulgarian Defense Forces. Know each other before we need each other” - said Col. Michelangelo Genchi, Commander of the Battle Group. - “We represent NATO and the perfect interoperability between the Defense Forces of the different contingents, demonstrates that we are ready to intervene against any threat in a fast, reactive and flexible manner," added Col Michelangelo Genchi.

The newest four Battlegroups deployed in 2022 as a direct response to Russia’s war on Ukraine are in Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. They joined pre-existing battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland and demonstrate NATO's determination to strengthen the Alliance's eastern flank in defense of its billion citizens and all of NATO's territory from any possible aggression.

In Bulgaria, the Multinational Battle Group it is led by the 6th Bersaglieri Regiment of Trapani, Italy, headed by Colonel Michelangelo Genchi.

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LNovo Selo, Bulgaria (Nov. 10, 2023) NATO Multinational Battlegroup during the Iron Strike 23 Exesrsise.

Story by JFC Naples Public Affairs Office

Video by JFC Naples Public Affairs Office

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