Bulgaria has refused a request from Ukraine for heavy weapons, citing a decision by the previous Parliament to supply Ukraine with military-technical assistance but not weapons, caretaker Defence Minister Dimitar Stoyanov said on September 29.
Stoyanov said that Ukraine’s ambassador to Bulgaria, Vitaly Moskalenko, had made a request for heavy weapons, not small arms, not ammunition.
“As long as I am minister, weapons will not be provided,” Stoyanov said.
He reiterated the caretaker government’s line that there is no direct threat of Bulgaria becoming directly involved in the war, but there were risks to national security.
Stoyanov said that there was no change in the situation in the Black Sea region, but there was a danger from free-floating sea mines.
He said that people in Russia with Bulgarian and Russian passports could be subject to conscription.
Earlier, Bulgaria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Kostadin Kozhabashev told a news conference that the Russian authorities had the right to mobilise Bulgarians in Russia with dual Bulgarian and Russian citizenship and send them to the front in Ukraine.
“As long as they are on the territory of Russia, their Russian passport dominates and they are treated as Russian citizens. For such people there are military obligations. With the delivery of their Russian passport, they are also handed a military card,” Kozhabashev said.
“Regardless of the fact that they are Bulgarian citizens, it is likely that they will be stopped (from leaving the country ) by the Russian authorities,” he said.
He was unable to say how many Bulgarian citizens are in Russia, nor how many of them also have Russian citizenship.
Kozhabashev said that those who had only a Bulgarian passport had the right to leave Russia, but for them the situation was complicated because of the shortage of air tickets and crowding at border points.
Earlier this week, the Foreign Ministry called on Bulgarians not to travel to Russia and said that those in that country should leave as soon as they could.
Stoyanov said that a September 29 meeting of the government security council would not discuss the European Commission’s proposed eighth package of sanctions.
Caretaker Foreign Minister Nikolai Milkov said that the proposed sanctions were dictated by the fact that the war in Ukraine is entering a new phase.
He said that the proposal on the sanctions had been received on the night of September 28 and would be assessed so as to arrive at an opinion. This assessment involved consulting several departments.
Milkov said that in principle, the sanctions were intended to increase pressure on Russia, but also avoid or minimise the negative effects on European economies and citizens.
(Photo of Stoyanov: Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry)
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