Bulgaria to stage military drill for refugee influx

Bulgaria holds military drill for ongoing refugee influx on its neighbours’ borders

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Bulgarian military personal stand next to a barbed wire wall on the Bulgarian border with Turkey

Bulgarian Defence Ministry announced on Tuesday that they will be holding military drills in Macedonian, Greek and Serbian border due to an increased influx of refugees through the Balkan country's neighbours.

Valeria Kardashevska, Defence Ministry chief of staff, said that Bulgaria has to act preventively on this influx.

"The situation in the neighbouring states of Macedonia, Greece and Serbia is quite complicated and we have to react preventively,” Reuters reported.

On Sunday, an estimated 5,000 refugees passed over Macedonia, mainly Syrian, to cross the country to pass to Serbia and resume their journey to European Union (EU) countries.

An estimated 50,000 refugees crossed from Greece's port in July alone, mostly from Middle Eastern countries.

Kardashevska said "we have already sent 25 troops and the relevant equipment and we are ready to increase the number of troops if necessary," adding "we are in constant contact with the border police.”

Over the information of Bulgarian Interior Ministry, police helicopters partly is holding flights above Macedonian and Greek borders.

"We have no worries that we would be criticized that the exercises are held near the border because the purpose is preventive and the task of our troops is to support the border police if needed," Kardashevska said.

According to official data reported by Reuters, in two years 25,000 refugee applied for asylum in Bulgaria that crossed over from Turkey which has a 160 kilometre-long border equipped with with cameras and motion sensors.

UNHCR expects 3,000 refugee to come Macedonia per day

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Tuesday that up to 3,000 refugees are expected to come into Macedonia every day.

UNHCR Spokesperson Melissa Fleming said during a press briefing in Geneva, "currently, we anticipate these arrivals continuing over the next few days at a rate of up to 3,000 people per day."

Fleming also stressed the condition of refugees, stating that they are arriving mostly from Middle East countries and Afghanistan.

"They are often physically exhausted and psychologically traumatized, and in need of humanitarian and medical assistance, especially the most vulnerable -- the sick, pregnant women and elderly. It is vital these people are treated humanely and essential assistance provided," she said.

TRTWorld and agencies