(QHA) -

Bulgaria's military will scrap three dozen of its Russian-made fighter jets and bombers to reassert its independence from Moscow, the defense minister said, following the Bulgarian president's denouncement of Russia as a "nationalist, aggressive state", Reuters informed.

The plan to get rid of all Russian-made aircraft is part of Bulgaria's military development program through 2020 to further integrate the former Soviet bloc nation into the Western NATO defense alliance, of which it is a member, Bulgaria's Trud newspaper reported Monday.

The military will present to parliament within six months a list of new airplanes to replace the 15 Russian-made MiG-29 and six MiG-21 fighters and 14 SU-25 bombers that remain in Bulgaria's air force, the report said.

The plan, is described as a bid to strengthen Bulgaria's independence from Russia, Defense Minister Velizar Shalamanov said.

Russia's annexation of Crimea and its role in Ukrainian crisis has prompted a series of moves from eastern European nations to boost their ties with NATO.

QHA