US troops accidentally attack sunflower oil factory in Bulgaria | US Army
The owner of a small sunflower oil factory in Bulgaria has filed a complaint after US soldiers accidentally stormed his facility during a NATO military exercise last month.
Marin Dimitrov told reporters on Wednesday that he had filed a complaint against those responsible for the May 11 incident.
Swift Response 2021 was a multinational exercise led by the US military that took place in Estonia, Bulgaria and Romania and involved more than 7,000 paratroopers from 10 NATO countries.
During the exercise, members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Italy simulated the seizure and securing of the disused Cheshnegirovo Air Base in southern Bulgaria by clearing bunkers and other structures, according to a statement. of the US military.
On May 11, US soldiers entered and cleared a building next to the airfield which they believed was part of the training area but which turned out to be occupied by Bulgarian civilians operating a private business, according to the press release.
“No weapons were fired at any time during the interaction,” the military statement said.
Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said it was “absolutely unacceptable that the life and peace of Bulgarian citizens are endangered by military units, whether they are part of the Bulgarian or foreign armed forces”.
“Exercises on Bulgarian territory involving our allies should strengthen the feeling of security and confidence in collective defense, instead of provoking tensions between Bulgarians,” Radev said.
The US Embassy in Bulgaria has apologized to the company and its employees.
“We are still learning from these exercises and are thoroughly investigating the cause of this error,” the embassy said in a statement. “We will put in place rigorous procedures to clearly define our training areas and prevent this type of incident in the future. “