The US government will deploy a Stryker armored vehicle unit in Bulgaria to help NATO bolster its eastern flank amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov announced the news on Saturday, expressing that the move serves as a “strong sign” for all NATO members.
The deployment of the Stryker mechanized infantry company in the Eastern European nation is expected to support a battlegroup of up to 1,000 troops under the operational command of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
The prime minister said that he hopes other NATO partners will step forward to fill gaps in the country’s military capacity to protect allies. He also proposed that the group have a Bulgarian commander.
“I wanted to underscore the importance of the announcement that Bulgaria has established and is leading a NATO multinational battlegroup,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a press conference. “It is an important step and we fully support it.”
Despite efforts to boost NATO’s eastern flank, Bulgaria clarified that it currently does not plan to provide lethal military equipment to Ukraine. However, the country vowed to continue sending humanitarian assistance to Kyiv.