Bulgaria's Police, Military to Carry Out Drill on SW Border
A joint exercise is to be conducted on Saturday in Southwestern Bulgaria, at the border with Greece and near the one in Macedonia, in light of potentially increasing migratory pressure.
The drill will be held in the region of Petrich, Sandanski and Kulata, the latter being a major border crossing point with Greece.
Earlier this week, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov called for a drill between police and military officers to assess the country's capacity in dealing with migrant pressure.
Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev, speaking to the Bulgarian National Television on Friday, refused to disclose the number of troops taking part in the exercise.
Authorities are preparing for a possible surge in number of migrants trying to cross into Bulgaria from either Macedonia or Greece, with measures taken by Western Balkan countries to curb the flow of migrants into Central Europe and then Germany and thousands of migrants being stuck at the border between Macedonia and Greece due to thousands of migrants, raising tensions.
The State Agency for Refugees has also voiced its concerns of an increased pressure on the borders with spring coming and with the tense situation at the frontier between Turkey and Syria.
The drill will be attended by Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova, Chief of Defense Constantin Popov, border police chief Antonio Angelov, Blagoevgrad Governor Biser Mihaylov, and other local officials.
At the end of February, Bulgarian lawmakers approved a bill allowing the army to assist border protection.