While the State Agency for National Security (SANS) – whose leadership is appointed by President Rumen Radev – warned that hostilities could escalate to include other countries in its annual report, the Defence Ministry has said that there is no danger that the war will extend beyond Ukraine’s borders.
Radev and his interim governments that ruled until recently have ambiguous positions regarding the war. Radev, for example, is against sending weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, but the new pro-European Bulgarian government and the majority in the parliament that supports it have totally different views.
“Military actions retain their potential for escalation and spread beyond Ukrainian territory, and the option of using weapons of mass destruction cannot be completely ruled out,” counterintelligence SANS states in its annual report for 2022 that was published on Monday, as quoted by mediapool.bg.
Later on Monday, Deputy Defence Minister Atanas Zapryanov commented that “at the moment, there is no danger that the war will leave the borders of Ukraine and transfer to the territory of NATO”.
“These reports should concern us not from the point of view of the expansion of the war by going beyond its borders but with some events such as the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant. If we have an accident at the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant, the effect may also affect neighbouring countries. We do not think that the war can leave the territory of Ukraine to the territory of NATO,” Zapryanov said, adding that this is the assessment of both the political leadership of the Defence Ministry and military intelligence.
The pro-European coalition between the parties We Continue the Change and Democratic Bulgaria, with whose mandate the government was elected, plan to pass law amendments for structural changes of the special services. The law now requires coordination with Radev for personnel changes in the services.
The Council of Ministers published the reports of counterintelligence and intelligence – civilian State Intelligence Agency (SIA) and military intelligence, in which the expected military aggression of Russia against Ukraine is indicated as the main threat to the security of the country and the world.
Moscow’s continued hybrid attacks, increasing migration pressures, risks to the country’s energy and other sectors, as well as societal division and radicalisation, are considered in the documents.
SANS and military intelligence explicitly note the tension in the relations between Bulgaria and North Macedonia, as well as the role of Russia in the Balkan region.
The military intelligence says in its report that Moscow “had indirect attempts to create a second zone of instability in the Western Balkans, taking advantage of the existing problems and contradictions in the region”.
“The activity of Russian special services in and from the territory of certain countries of the Western Balkans increased significantly in 2022 in an attempt to compensate for the damage caused to Russian legal residences by the expulsion of Russian diplomats from several countries in Europe,” the military intelligence says.
SANS also reports that last year there was a significant increase in cyberattacks, including by Russia-linked hacker groups.
The military intelligence adds that “socio-economic problems, aggressive propaganda and disinformation lead to increased sensitivity of the population, lowering the threshold of tolerance and deepening the ethnoreligious division”.
“This, in turn, favours the processes of radicalisation. In parallel with religious radicalisation, extreme right-wing extremist manifestations are growing,” military intelligence says.
Military intelligence reports that “Western comprehensive support is vitally important for the survival of the Ukrainian nation.”
The new Bulgarian government is in favour of sending weapons, supports Ukraine’s NATO membership and is ready to sell nuclear reactors stored unused in Bulgaria that Ukraine needs.
(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)