Fact Check: Bulgaria Has NOT Gifted NATO With A Large Area Of ​​The Northeastern Part Of Its Territory Near Ukraine

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  • от: Lead Stories автор
Fact Check: Bulgaria Has NOT Gifted NATO With A Large Area Of ​​The Northeastern Part Of Its Territory Near Ukraine Fabricated

Did Bulgaria agree in 2022 that territory in the country will be gifted to NATO and set up as a military zone from which citizens will be removed? No, that's not true: The Bulgarian Ministry of Defense categorically rejected such a claim and said in an October 11, 2023 email response to an inquiry by Lead Stories that "The territories of NATO member states are sovereign territories of independent states, and no parts of these states are subject to negotiation for redistribution."

The claim appeared in a video on TikTik (archived here) published by @lionheart474 on August 9, 2023 with captions translated into English from Bulgarian by Lead Stories staff reading:

What is happening in Northeastern Bulgaria?

Kiril Petkov is to answer why an entire area was agreed to be gifted to NATO?

Petkov, tell the Bulgarians the truth about what was agreed today!

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-10-16 at 8.59.58.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Oct 16 06:26:13 2023 UTC)

This is a recycled claim that can be traced to a similar post containing a similar claim and the same map that was posted on March 19, 2022, by Mariela Nordel on her Facebook page. Nordel became popular after participating in a reality TV program on Bulgarian TV and her post was widely shared.

The same claim can be seen in an online article on March 16, 2022, in which an almost identical text and map are shown and for which the article cites no source or evidence to support it.

According to Nordel's post and the March 16 article, the US requested a large area of Bulgarian territory to deploy missiles, and where Bulgarian citizens would be compensated and evicted from the area.

In the official email response of the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense to Lead Stories, translated into English from Bulgarian by Lead Stories staff, the Ministry wrote:

NATO is a political, military defense union of sovereign countries. NATO's decisions are made solely based on consensus between all member states within the North Atlantic Council. No mechanism exists for bilateral negotiations between NATO and a member state for the redistribution of territories.

It added that as a NATO member, Bulgarian territory can be used for:

Conducting alliance training, passing of alliance military forces, and deployment of alliance forces in case of undergoing active plans to stop aggression and defend our territory.

Bulgarian territory can be used for the deployment of allied troops in the situation of an armed attack against Bulgaria or another NATO member state when Article 5 of the Washington Treaty relating to collective defense can be activated. When Parliament's decision and in compliance with NATO's defense plans:

Alliance forces can be deployed on our sovereign territory to participate in the defense of the Bulgarian territory or the territory of other NATO member states.

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