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Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022

In U-turn, Bulgarian parliament tells Sofia to send weapons to Ukraine

In U-turn, Bulgarian parliament tells Sofia to send weapons to Ukraine

Bulgaria has been one of the few EU countries to refuse weapon deliveries to Ukraine.
Bulgaria should send weapons to Ukraine, the country’s parliament voted Thursday, instructing the government to put forward a plan within the next month.

The country has been among the few EU members, along with Hungary, to refuse to directly deliver arms to Kyiv.

Some 175 lawmakers voted in favor of a six-point plan to provide military aid to Ukraine, detailing which weapons could be delivered to Kyiv. Another 49 voted against the motion.

This comes after the parliament previously blocked such a move amid opposition from the Russia-friendly Socialist party, then a coalition partner in the government. In May, the parliament voted against military aid and decided that support to Ukraine should not go beyond assistance for military repairs.

The newly adopted motion asks the Cabinet to launch talks with NATO allies to replace or boost defense capabilities in exchange for more quickly freeing up its Soviet-era military equipment.

During the debate, MPs from different parties argued that providing military assistance to Ukraine could be an opportunity for Bulgaria to modernize its weapons stock.

However, President Rumen Radev and Minister of Defense Dimitar Stoyanov spoke out against the idea, saying the Bulgarian army cannot afford such weapon deliveries and arguing that partners like the United States will not provide replacement weapons as a “gift.”

It remains unclear what military aid could be sent to Ukraine and how soon this could happen.

Bulgaria has so far indirectly supplied at least €1 billion in weapons and ammunition to Ukraine via other countries buying its arms and sending them on, according to estimates, a major boon for the Bulgarian defense industry.
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