Bulgarian Air Force Could Retire MiG-29 Jets in September
Bulgarian Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev announced that the country's air force could retire its MiG-29 fighter jets in September.
The current contract for maintenance of the jets expires on September 9 and Nenchev refuses to sign a new one, as he deems that the Russian offer is unfavourable.
The minister said that he refuses to sign the contract and most probably will not sign it as Russia demands BGN 80 M for the maintenance of the MiG-29 jets until 2019.
Nenchev mentioned of a pressure, which has been exerted on him to agree to sign the unfavourable contract in exchange for percentage of the BGN 80 M deal, he said in an interview for daily Sega.
He revealed that the Defence Ministry was discussing an option of cooperating with NATO for joint defence of Bulgarian air space.
The minister stated he was studying the experience of the three Baltic states, which paid EUR 5 M for defence of their air space annually.
Nenchev did not rule out the possibility of requesting from the USA to leave the F-15 jets, which are stationed in Bulgaria for a longer period of time, but this required a bilateral agreement.
In his words, the attacks against him in the past months were due to his refusal to sign the MiG-29s contract, the cut of unlawful practices at the ministry and the changes to the military intelligence.
Nenchev even revealed that death threats had been addressed at him, but he refrained from disclosing further details.
The minister expressed his firm support for General Dimitar Shivikov, who had been accused of malfeasance in office for ordering his subordinates to renovate his dwelling.