On the eve of talks with visiting US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, Bulgaria’s Prime Minister dismissed as untrue speculation that the country would agree to supply weaponry to Ukraine.
Petkov said that Austin’s visit was an expression of respect from the US government.
The Prime Minister said that no talks had been held with him about supplying weapons to Ukraine.
Bulgaria would not engage in the hostilities in Ukraine and no missiles would be supplied at this time, but strong support for Ukraine would continue, he said.
“We will send reinforced humanitarian aid, medicine, welcome the maximum number of refugees and strengthen the Eastern Flank together with Nato,” Petkov said.
“Nato must work in co-ordination on the Eastern Flank to ensure security for all countries close to the conflict,” he said.
Petkov said “you would have to have incredible imagination” to imagine that the midnight arrest of former prime minister and opposition GERB party leader Boiko Borissov was a distraction from the issue of weapons for Ukraine.
On March 17, Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Kornelia Ninova, whose Bulgarian Socialist Party is part of the quadripartite governing coalition, said that no request had been received by Bulgaria from the US to send weapons and ammunition to Ukraine.
“We continue to believe that Bulgaria should not supply weapons and ammunition to Ukraine,” Ninova said.
Innovation and Growth Minister Daniel Lorer, of Petkov’s We Continue the Change party, said that Bulgaria would not send military aid to Ukraine during the war there.
On the Russian embassy’s Facebook page, ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova said in a video posted on March 17 that she was “warning” Bulgaria’s government that arms supplies, including those of Soviet origin, and ammunition to what she called “Ukrainian nationalists” were unlikely to add optimism to the dialogue between Russia and Ukraine.
President Roumen Radev, speaking on March 18: “We must be in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and help with everything we can.
“But whoever decides to provide armaments and thus involve Bulgaria in the war must be able to face the public and explain the risk, because the price is always paid by the citizens, not by politicians,” Radev said.
He said that the main task was to prevent Bulgarian citizens and the country’s strategic sites, such as its nuclear power plant, from being left without adequate air protection.
(Photo of Petkov: government.bg)
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