11:37 GMT +315 October 2019
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    Saab JAS 39 Gripen (Griffin) fighter aircraft taxi out for start during the NATO exercise Loyal Arrow outside Lulea in northern Sweden, on June 10, 2009

    Bulgarian Activists Protest Deployment of US Weapons on Their Soil

    © AFP 2019 / Patrick Tragardh / SCANPIX
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    Bulgarian committee of civil society activists sign a petition against the decision of Washington to deploy heavy weapons on the Bulgarian territory in US move to expand its military force in Eastern Europe.

    The Initiative Committee of Bulgaria which consists of lawyers, media representatives and civil society activists, organized a national civil initiative against the deployment of foreign troops and military equipment on the Bulgarian territory.

    Organizers plan to collect signatures under a petition and pass it on to the National Assembly and the Council of Ministers.

    The idea of this initiative belongs to a non-partisan civic movement ‘Modern Bulgaria,’ which brings together people of different political views, reports Bulgarian media Blitz.

    The petition which was published on June 25, calls “to prevent the transformation of Bulgaria into a facilitator for settling of foreign geopolitical goals and aspirations, which can result in suffering of long-term national interests.”

    Volen Siderov, leader of the ultra-nationalist Ataka party, speaks to supporters during a rally outside the court palace in Sofia on January 8, 2014
    © AFP 2019 / DIMITAR DILKOFF
    “We understand the position of other sovereign states, which have their own fears and tensions with Russia. But we believe that they should respect the sovereignty and interests of Bulgaria. The national security of our country does not have any direct or indirect threat from the Russian Federation. Therefore, nothing is forcing us to place foreign military troops on the Bulgarian territory,” read the petition.

    On June 23, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter restated Washington's plans to deploy heavy weapons in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states.

    According to him Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have given their permission for deployment of weapons. According to the US Department of Defense, in each of these countries there will be military equipment necessary for units consisting of 750 people.

    Washington plans to place about 250 tanks, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and self-propelled howitzers across Europe.

    NATO exercises and deployments near Russia since 2014
    © Sputnik /
    NATO exercises and deployments near Russia since 2014

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    Tags:
    NATO, US heavy weapons, protests, activists, deployment, US troops, NATO expansion, Ashton Carter, United States, Eastern Europe, Bulgaria
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