WARSAW, Poland — The governments of Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria are discussing plans to set up a joint military brigade, according to an announcement by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko following a meeting with his Romanian counterpart, Klaus Iohannis, in Bucharest, reports local news agency Novinite.
Poroshenko said that he also discussed the project with Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev during the latter's March 27 visit to Kiev.
The latest move by the three countries follows an earlier initiative by Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania to set up a joint military brigade, dubbed the Litpolukrbrig. The brigade will comprise about 4,000 troops, and it is expected to reach full combat readiness in 2017.
The Ukrainian president said the initiative could become a significant contribution to enhancing regional security. Under the plan, the new brigade will be modeled on the Litpolukrbrig.
Numerous Eastern European countries have increased their regional defense cooperation in response to Russia's military intervention in eastern Ukraine, and the subsequent takeover of the Crimean peninsula by Moscow.
Some of the potential areas of enhanced regional military cooperation include the countries' air capabilities. The Czech government is mulling setting up a joint air squadron with Hungary which would comprise Saab JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets operated by the two countries' air forces. Meanwhile, the Bulgarian Air Force is aiming to replace its aging fleet of Soviet-designed fighters with new aircraft, with the Gripen shortlisted as a potential replacement, beside the US F-16 and Eurofighter Typhoon.