Bulgaria’s defense minister expressed concerns Tuesday about escalating tension between Russia and NATO regarding Ukraine.

Stefan Yanev said crises in Ukraine are a national security issue for Bulgaria.

“What is happening in the Ukrainian region poses a threat to Euro-Atlantic security and has an extremely negative impact on the national security of our country,” Yanev said at the Annual General Staff Conference in the capital of Sofia.

Yanev described the crisis as the biggest for the region since the Cold War.

“The region faced the biggest crisis in the post-Cold War period. The Bulgarian army should fill the staffing gap and that the armored vehicle procurement procedure needed by the land forces will be accelerated,” he said.

Tension between Ukraine and Russia

Moscow and Kyiv have been locked in conflict since hostilities in the eastern Donbas region broke out in 2014 after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula.

Russia has amassed thousands of troops near Ukraine’s borders, prompting fears it could be planning another military offensive against the former Soviet republic.

The US and its allies have warned of an imminent attack and threatened Russia with “severe consequences.”

Moscow, however, has denied it is preparing to invade Ukraine and said its troops are there for exercises.

World leaders, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, are working to resolve the row peacefully. Toward that end, Turkiye has offered to host a peace summit between the leaders of Russia and Ukraine.

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