May 19. 2024. 12:40

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Bulgarian ammo to Ukraine could impact war


The caretaker Defence Ministry will transfer old ammunition worth nearly €175 million to the state military plant VMZ and, in return, will receive new ammunition, the ministry announced.

The goal is for the vast amounts of old ammunition from the warehouses of the Bulgarian army to go to Ukraine, the ex-defence minister, who is well acquainted with the arms business in the country, added.

“This is the largest rearmament of the Bulgarian land forces in recent history. That’s a huge amount of ammunition – hundreds of thousands. There is a huge increase in the prices of ammunition, and VMZ will sell this ammunition through intermediaries to Ukraine,” the former minister added.

“This is an amount of ammunition that can turn the tide of the war in some directions on the Ukrainian front,” he added.

The Bulgarian army has stockpiles of Soviet-standard ammunition, which the Ukrainian army needs to fuel its vast stockpile of Soviet-standard weapons, including tanks, howitzers, anti-tank grenade launchers, Soviet multiple rocket launchers, AK-47 rifles and more.

EURACTIV’s investigations have already reported that arms supplies to Ukraine worth billions of euros by Bulgaria have not stopped, despite the official claims of the authorities in Sofia.

On Monday, Defence Minister Dimitar Stoyanov commented that the scheme with VMZ was only agreed to “for the purpose of renewing wartime stocks” for the army. This is part of the decision of the National Assembly to “provide support for Ukraine”, he added.

We don’t know what will happen to the weapons

For now, Stoyanov said he could not say what his ministry would do with the ammunition.

President Rumen Radev, who runs the country as a presidential republic in the absence of a regularly elected government and parliament, has publicly opposed arms supplies to Ukraine. According to Noev, Radev should explain why Bulgaria will not publicly join the common European efforts and how this will affect the Bulgarian industry.

“He is not a monarch, nor does he have the authority to express the state’s sovereignty. Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic, and the sovereign is the National Assembly. From this point of view, in its decision, the parliament told the Council of Ministers to imperatively continue to take all actions to provide subsequent military and military-technical support to Ukraine,” Noev said.

Just three days ago in Brussels, the president announced that Bulgaria will sell arms and ammunition to other European countries on the condition that they will not be sent to Ukraine despite parliament deciding in mid-December that the army would send military aid directly to Ukraine.

While being a staunch opponent of parliament’s decision, Radev did not veto it but announced that there would be no more deliveries while the caretaker government was in power.

If the ammunition is transferred from the army to the military plant and then exported through intermediaries to Ukraine, Radev can continue to tell his supporters that Sofia is not helping Kyiv.

Brussels pressures Sofia

“The EU would like to see the widest possible participation in the deal for the purchase of shells for Ukraine,” a spokesman for the European Commission in Brussels said Monday, as quoted by Dnevnik.

“We hope and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy has been clear that he wants to see the widest possible participation because it is in the European interest, in support of Ukraine, but also support of European security and stability,” the Commission’s spokesperson added.

Bulgaria, along with Ireland, Latvia and Slovenia, has not confirmed participation in the general purchase of ammunition.

(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)