Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry is to send an official request to Poland’s Defence Ministry for assistance in overhauling six Bulgarian Air Force MiG-29 fighter jet engines in Poland.
The Defence Ministry in Sofia said that this was agreed at a meeting between caretaker Defence Minister Dimitar Stoyanov and Polish embassy deputy head of mission Iwona Jakuszko-Dudka, also attended by other officials, on August 5.
The statement quoted Stoyanov as saying that the issue was “critical”, in order to ensure the mission of the Bulgarian Air Force to protect Bulgaria’s air space.
According to the statement, Jakuszko-Dudka was committed to assisting in resolving the issue as soon as possible.
Stoyanov said that the process had been delayed “mainly due to financial reasons”
“Our wish is that during these two months of the caretaker government’s term, we will make maximum efforts to give this process an impetus,” he said.
Among the issues discussed at the meeting were the war in Ukraine and the consequences for Bulgaria and Poland, as well as the active participation of both countries in the Three Seas initiative, the statement said.
Bulgaria is to continue to use its ageing Soviet-era MiG-29s while it awaits the delivery of US-made F-16 fighter jets. Delivery of the first batch of F-16s has been delayed, mainly because of the impact of Covid-19 on the production process.
Earlier in 2022, Spanish and Dutch fighter jets assisted in guarding Bulgaria’s air space.
In recent years, Bulgaria has given Russia huge sums to overhaul the MiG-29s.
Nikolai Nenchev, Defence Minister from 2014 to 2017, switched the business to Poland during his term of office. In 2016 and 2017, prosecutors lodged charges against Nenchev in connection with the deal. He was acquitted at final instance by the Supreme Court of Cassation in 2021.
(Photo: Bulgarian Defence Ministry)
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