The independent resource on global security

Bulgaria and Black Sea Security

Publisher: SIPRI
December, 2018

The Black Sea region is experiencing a changing military balance. The six littoral states (Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine) intensified their efforts to build up their military potential after Russia’s takeover of Crimea and the start of the internationalized civil war in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

As a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Bulgaria aims to support NATO’s security objectives of increasing military spending, enhancing defence capacities and developing interoperability. Bulgaria contributes to NATO’s military activities in the Black Sea region and regularly hosts and participates in exercises with NATO partners. However, Bulgaria also tries to remain on good terms with Russia by way of bilateral economic and political cooperation.


I. Background

II. Defence policy

III. Armed forces structure

IV. Armed forces deployment

V. Military spending

VI. Arms holdings and acquisitions

VII. Conclusions


Siemon T. Wezeman is a Senior Researcher in the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
Alexandra Kuimova Alexandra Kuimova is a Researcher with UNIDIR’s Conventional Arms and Ammunition Programme. She was previously a Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.