Defence Minister unveils further details of Bulgaria’s new package of military aid for Ukraine

Bulgarian Defence Minister Todor Tagarev has unveiled further details of the new package of military aid that the Cabinet has decided to send to Ukraine, saying that the list is confidential, but it includes artillery shells, other ammunition and some equipment.

Tagarev told Nova Televizia in an interview on June 27, a day after the Cabinet decision was announced, that the items were old and would expire soon anyway “and they are very much needed by the Ukrainian army at the moment”

“They are serviceable, some of them will go through certain checks to make sure they are serviceable,” Tagarev said.

“There are also various mechanisms, both through the EU and through other allies, to be financially compensated for sending this aid,” he said.

He said that the second package of weaponry for Ukraine was comparable to that send by the caretaker government. In terms of value, it will be slightly larger in volume.

Tagarev said that it was difficult to calculate the exact value of the aid. “We are talking about things that were bought in a different economy, at artificial prices.”

“We have already sent aid to Ukraine several times, initially focusing on humanitarian and defence means. After the decision of the National Assembly at the end of last year, the Cabinet was obliged to send such assistance.

“Everything is the result of an analysis by the military leadership. It does not violate the regulations for maintaining stocks of various resources. We have the opportunity to ensure the training of the Bulgarian army,” Tagarev said.

He had informed his Ukrainian counterpart on June 26 about the military aid decision, he said.

The government was preparing a further decision on inclusion in the EU initiative to provide a million 155mm artillery shells to Ukraine.

In a criticism of the now-departed caretaker government appointed by President Roumen Radev, Tagarev said: “(European Commissioner) Thierry Breton visited (Bulgarian arms plant) VMZ-Sopot to see what the possibilities are for investment of European funds and expansion of production. We said: ‘No’. For me, there is no logic at all”.

“We’re talking about investment in our defence industry – that’s our goal right now. When these investments are made, we will be able to produce for the Ukrainian army as well, if the war lasts that long, both for us and for other armies.”

Tagarev said that there was no logical argument for the claim that providing aid to Ukraine would drag Bulgaria into the war.

“Support for a country in need reduces the risk for Nato and EU countries. Ending the war in a situation advantageous to Russia will not quench its thirst for territories,” Tagarev said.

He said that “a massive campaign of manipulation, disinformation and outright lies” is currently underway. One of the fake news is that Bulgaria is going to send troops to Ukraine.

“Unfortunately, leaders of parliamentary parties are also involved in this propaganda. Politicians are aware of what the decision of the National Assembly is, and it says: training of Ukrainian military medics in our country and instructors to work either on our territory or in other EU countries to participate in the training of Ukrainian military personnel.

“This is purposefully interpreted by leaders of political parties in Parliament,” Tagarev said, singling out Bulgarian Socialist Party Kornelia Ninova for using language that was in the interests of the Kremlin.

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