Radev lamented the fact that the country’s military had neglected to repair the MiG-29 aircraft engines and hadn’t conducted preventive maintenance for many years.
"It is impossible to buy spare parts and repair the Russian-made aircraft due to the imposition of sanctions against Russia”, Radev said.
According to open sources, Bulgaria's Air Force owns twelve MiG-29 combat fighters and two MiG-29UB combat training planes, in addition to other combat vehicles.
Radev said that the situation has prompted Bulgaria to consider turning to its immediate NATO neighbors Greece and Turkey for the protection of Bulgarian airspace.
He added that "joint defense would be the best step."
At the same time, Radev made it clear that creating such a defense system will take money, which he said Bulgaria cannot currently afford.
Radev said that another option could be the creation of an air defense shield in Bulgaria which would be supported by NATO, a system that he said is already in place in the three Baltic countries.