Bulgaria Closes its Airspace to Russia’s Syria-bound Planes

September 8. /TASS/. Bulgaria has closed its airspace to Russian cargo planes with relief aid for Syria. The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry has confirmed earlier reports by Greek mass media to this effect.

“A corresponding notification was sent in response to Russia’s request last weekend,” Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Betina Zhoteva told TASS.

“We denied permission to let Russian military-transport planes cross Bulgarian territory because on the basis of the available information we have reasonable doubts the cargoes are not the declared ones. The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry made that decision of its own accord,” Zhoteva said.

Greece earlier received a request from the United States to close its air space for Russian aircraft making flights to Syria with humanitarian cargoes.

On Monday, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov it was too early provide any comment on the United States’ request to Greece to close its air space for Russian aircraft making humanitarian flights to Syria.

“There was a corresponding statement by our Greek partners who said they were considering this request,” the Kremlin spokesman said. “It is too early to speak about that until we have any reaction.”

US harms Moscow and Damascus by demands to close airspace to Russian planes

MOSCOW, September 8 /TASS/. Bulgaria, which denied access to its airspace to Russian planes flying relief aid to Syria, had acted on order from Washington, which wants to do harm to Moscow and Damascus, a Russian Middle East expert said on Tuesday.

According to him, Bulgaria is working off for its EU and NATO status. “To be more precise, it is not Bulgaria, which is working off its status, but its politicians who are agree to close power plants, scrap nuclear cooperation with Russia and give up a gas stream project, even if that contradicts the country’s national interests. They are ready to ruin Bulgaria with an aim to please their bosses, who, in all probability, sit in Washington,” Yevgeny Satanovsky, the president of the Russian Institute of Middle East Studies, told TASS.

Asked what the reasons were behind Washington’s decision to ban the flights of planes with relief aid, Satanovsky replied the aim was to harm Russia and take it out on it for the US foreign policy failures.

“The United States has recently received a number of strong smacks in the face. The events in Syria and Iraq; negotiations with Iran and the Ukraine crisis – everything was messed up and unfolded according to absolutely different scenarios, not the ones that had been planned by American diplomats and politicians,” Satanovsky explained.

“This speaks about the intellectual level of these diplomats and politicians. They feel sad for the Cold War days when they used to have a foe who openly said that he was a foe. That enemy understood where the red lines ran and knew what he could do and what he could not,” the Russian expert said.

“A generation which imagines its [adversary] today takes its lead from Hollywood films, in which America can do everything, when assessing the U.S. capabilities. But Barrack Obama is not Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris or even Steven Seagal. He is not omnipotent and that disappoints him and drives him angry,” Satanovsky told TASS.

“They could not do without Russia when dealing with chemical disarmament in Syria. Russia and China stood quite firm at the United Nations to avert air strikes at Syria under any pretext,” the president of the Institute of Middle East Studies went on to say.

According to him, the United States used the humanitarian crisis in Syria as a blackmail to force several countries to support the idea of air strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“An unprecedented influx of refugees is heading for Europe. Under these circumstances, it is possible that European and American politicians would like to reanimate the idea of a military strike against the Syrian president, a strike against Bashar al-Assad’s troops, as they claim, rather than at the Islamic State /which is a terrorist group/. That is why they do not need Russian planes with relief aid at all,” the Russian expert said.

“The situation [with the passage of Russian planes] is caused by desire to harm Russia. It is being said absolutely openly that the task is to humiliate and down Russia. The second task is to shake and destabilize Putin’s regime,” Satanovsky said adding it was useless to ask Europe what it would do if they really upset Putin’s regime.

“Ukraine has been destabilized. Luckily, no refugees have flooded into Europe from there as of yet. But they certainly will. What are they going to do if they destabilize us /Russia/? They simply do not think about that,” Satanovsky said.

Another goal behind the US and European policy, according to the expert, is to do harm to Bashar al-Assad and make the situation in Syria as grave as possible.

Russia to respond to Bulgaria’s closure of airspace to Russian Syria-bound planes

MOSCOW, September 8 /TASS/. Russia has warned Bulgaria that it’s going to react adequately to a decision to close Bulgarian airspace to Russian planes flying relief cargoes to Syria, Nikolay Levichev, the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) vice-speaker and a member of the Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs, told TASS on Tuesday.

“We will remember this unfriendly move and will find adequate answers,” Levichev said. “The Bulgarian leadership which made that decision – whatever the reasons behind it could be – has joined the camp of adversaries of the existing system of international relations,” the vice-speaker went on to say. “Closing access to its airspace to planes with relief cargoes for the war-torn Syria is an inhumane and clearly short-sighted act,” the Russian politician stressed.

Levichev said it was paradoxical that countries under sanctions turned out to be the only custodians of principles of humanism in a modern world. “Damascus opposes radicals from the IS (Islamic State); Moscow is sending aid to Damascus and Teheran is ready to open an air corridor to Russian planes. But the West is doing nothing but putting a spoke in the wheel. The Bulgarian government stood at attention upon receiving a command from Washington,” the Russian lawmaker said.

Russia has already found alternative routes for its planes but the Bulgarian people are unlikely to gain anything from their government’s policy of confrontation with Russia, Levichev said.

“It was Russia that liberated Bulgaria from the Ottoman yoke in the 19th century and contributed to the creation of the Bulgarian statehood. Apparently, the Bulgarian government has a short memory. But the Russian memory is good,” Levichev concluded.

Bulgaria has refused to give access to its airspace to Russian planes with a relief cargo for Syria onboard, Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Betina Zhoteva told TASS on Tuesday.

“We denied permission to Russian military transport planes to fly via Bulgarian airspace because we have enough information that makes us have serious doubts about the cargo onboard which may vary from what it has been declared,” the spokeswoman said adding that the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry had made its decision absolutely independently.

According to media reports, the United States has also asked Greece to close the Greek airspace to Russian cargo planes bound for Syria.