On Tuesday Sept.8, Bulgarian officials announced that through September the 24th they had closed the country’s airspace to Russian transport planes.
The reason for this serious decision is associated with the recently documented facts of Russian military buildup to the south of Latakia city in Syria.
A week before that Mr Putin spoke about the importance of a coalition against ISIS, though it seems that he sees the situation in Syria in a totally different way and his methods of combating the militant group are not acceptable for the U.S.
Over the last few days, two large Russian Condor planes brought supplies, equipment, and military personnel to Syrian port city of Latakia. While these two were flying over Iran and Iraq, another Russian transport plane flew over Greece and Bulgaria. According to anonymous sources, that plane was carrying military personnel including Russian special forces Spetsnaz. Apart from this, Russians have already delivered prefabricated housing for about 1,000 military personnel and a portable air traffic control station.
The U.S. administration asked Greece to join with Bulgaria and close its airspace for Russian flights but insofar, Greece has not given any public response.
American officials believe that Russia is establishing an operating base in Syria. Though, on Monday, Russian news media said that Russia was not trying to increase its military role in Syria, instead they provided humanitarian assistance. Russia used the same explanation while delivering military supplies to Donbass separatists in Ukraine, and before that, this scenario was played by Iran sending arms to the Assad government.
The attempt to block the airspace for Russian planes heading to Syria has reignited the tension between the Kremlin and the White House. While Russian intentions in this conflict are not clear yet, the U.S. moves to block access to Syria for the Russian military. While Bulgaria listened to the appeal from the U.S. and closed its airspace to Russia, there are still air routes through Iran, Iraq and Turkey.