NATO’s multinational battlegroup in Bulgaria completed Exercise PLATINUM LION 22, passing an important milestone as it moves towards achieving full operational capability. The battlegroup currently consists of the Bulgarian Army’s 42nd Mechanised Battalion and a mechanised infantry company from the US Army’s 3rd Armoured Brigade Combat Team. Soldiers from the British Army’s Royal Irish Regiment worked alongside the battlegroup for PLATINUM LION 22, learning how to manoeuvre and communicate with their NATO Allies as they repelled a simulated attack.
The battlegroup in Bulgaria was created following a decision by the North Atlantic Council to reinforce the eastern part of the Alliance, following Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. To help establish the battlegroup, the US Army’s 4th Security Force Assistance Brigade has spent time mentoring the 42nd Mechanised Battalion at Novo Selo, helping them learn how to operate in a multinational context. The Italian Army will assume leadership of the battlegroup this fall and lead the way for other nations to participate including Bulgaria and the U.S.
Bulgaria has established and is now leading a NATO multinational battle group. An important component of NATO’s deterrence and defence posture is military presence in the eastern part of Alliance territory. In recent years, Allies have enhanced NATO’s forward presence by establishing multinational battlegroups in Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. They have also sent more ships, planes and troops to NATO’s eastern flank, from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south. These actions demonstrate Allies’ solidarity, determination and ability to defend Alliance territory and populations.
Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Allies reinforced the existing battlegroups and agreed to establish four more multinational battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. This has brought the total number of multinational battlegroups to eight, effectively doubled the number of troops on the ground and extended NATO’s forward presence along the Alliance’s eastern flank – from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south. Allies are committed to deploying robust and combat-ready forces on the Alliance’s eastern flank.