U.S. soldiers mistakenly stormed a factory that makes vegetable oil equipment in Bulgaria during a training exercise last month in an incident that has led to criticism from America’s Eastern European ally and a lawsuit from the factory’s owner.
But there were Bulgarian civilians “operating a private business” in the building, it said, adding that no weapons were fired at any time during the interaction.
The soldiers had simulated seizing and securing a decommissioned airfield in the town of Cheshnegirovo as part of the exercise, the statement said.
“We sincerely apologize to the business and its employees,” it added. “We always learn from these exercises and are fully investigating the cause of this mistake.”
The statement did not identify the company, but The Associated Press released surveillance video shared by KIM Engineering Ltd. that showed soldiers in camouflage roaming through a factory-like facility with guns drawn.