Bulgaria’s Defence Minister: Only isolated cases affected by Russian revocation of licences

Bulgaria’s Defence Minister Todor Tagarev reacted on August 15 to reports that Russia intended revoking Bulgarian businesses’ licences to repair Russian-made defence equipment, saying that there were only isolated cases in which Bulgarian firms work with such licences.

“They are isolated, I emphasise that,” Tagarev said, according to a report by Bulgarian National Radio.

Earlier on August 15, media reports quoted Dmitry Shugaev, head of Russia’s federal service for military and technical cooperation, as saying that Moscow was stopping the supply of spare parts for military equipment to “hostile” countries.

The step is in response to the transfer of Russian and Soviet military equipment to Ukraine: “Specifically, licences for the right to repair Russian/Soviet-made military equipment are being revoked from enterprises. For example, a number of enterprises located in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic have had their Mi helicopter repair licences revoked,” Shugaev said.

“The supply of spare parts and components for aviation and other Russian/Soviet-made equipment located in enemy countries is also terminated,” he said.

Tagarev, who took office in June 2023 as part of Bulgaria’s pro-Western government, said that Russia has much bigger claims “they are not recognised by the Bulgarian state and will not be recognised by the Bulgarian state”.

“In these isolated cases, our companies look for alternative sources of know-how and relevant technologies.”

Tagarev issued an assurance that security risks in the Black Sea are subject to constant analysis and various options for action are being discussed.

Referring to reports that last week a Russian warship fired a warning shot at a cargo vessel near the Bulgarian economic zone in the sea, he said: “The version has already been confirmed that there were warning shots and boarding of the ship by its captain himself. We still do not know if there were any protests according to the current rules for the use of maritime areas”.

“There should first be a protest from the owner of the ship, the country under whose flag that ship sails. So far we have no such information,” Tagarev said, adding that the incident took place outside Bulgarian waters.

(Photo: Bulgaria’s Ministry of Defence)

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