MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Meeting with Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev on Tuesday, Fallon confirmed that the United Kingdom will send a Type 45 guided missile destroyer to the Black Sea in early 2017 to protect NATO's southern flank, the ministry said in a statement after Fallon's visit to Bulgaria.
"We want to send a clear message to our Bulgarian and European allies that we are standing strong with them to defeat our shared security threats. By tightening our ties today we’re giving citizens in Bulgaria, the UK and the whole of Eastern Europe greater hope of a brighter future," Fallon was quoted as saying by the ministry.
NATO has been boosting its military presence in Europe, particularly in Eastern European states, since the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, citing Russia's alleged interference in that conflict, as well as Crimea's rejoining with Russia, as justification for the move.
At the NATO summit in Warsaw on July 8, the Alliance's secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said that the military bloc would strengthen its presence in Eastern Europe on a rotational basis with four battalions in Poland and in the Baltic nations. The United States will lead the troops in Poland, while the United Kingdom will head the battalion in Estonia, Germany the one in Lithuania, and Canada that in Latvia.