March 19, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s March 18-19 Visit to Bulgaria
The United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Bulgaria from March 18 to March 19, 2022, to discuss our strong security partnership with Bulgarian counterparts and to reaffirm our shared resolve in the face of Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
While in Bulgaria, Secretary Austin met with Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and Defense Minister Dragomir Zakov, and visited U.S. and Bulgarian troops at Novo Selo Training Area.
During his meeting with Prime Minister Petkov, Secretary Austin praised Bulgaria as a valued security partner, both bilaterally and through the NATO Alliance, and noted that our security partnership has never been stronger. The Prime Minister and Secretary Austin announced that the Bulgarian-led multinational battlegroup is now operational, and along with the U.S. Stryker company in Bulgaria, is under the authority of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe. This battlegroup, at Novo Selo Training Area, will increase our collective defense capabilities as NATO Allies.
Both sides recommitted to making decisions about defense in the region collectively, and with respect to the national sovereignty of all Allies. Both sides confirmed that Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity presents a grave threat to all democratic and sovereign nations, and that we remain united in our support of the Ukrainian people as they fight bravely to defend their country.