In an unconventional procedure, Bulgaria’s Parliament voted behind closed doors on September 27 to supply unserviceable S-300 missiles to Ukraine, for that country to repair to use to defend its cities against Russian attacks.
Debate lasted more than three hours, beginning in open session but then going behind closed doors to hear Defence Chief Admiral Admiral Emil Eftimov and Air Force second-in-command Brigadier General Petyo Mirchev.
When the doors were re-opened, Parliament had moved on to the next item on the Order Paper, leaving the precise result of the vote unclear and without Deputy Speaker Rositsa Kirova announcing it. Nor was it clear why voting was held in camera.
Tabled by MPs from GERB-UDF, We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the decision provides for Bulgaria to supply the S-300 missiles – not the entire missile system – and 5.45mm cartridges from Interior Ministry stocks that are surplus to requirements.
With no official announcement of the voting result, reporters were left to hear from MRF MP Delyan Peevski that the decision had been approved, with pro-Kremlin party Vuzrazhdane opposed and the Bulgarian Socialist Party having left the House during the closed part of the sitting.
During the open part of the debate, parliamentary defence committee head Hristo Gadzhev said that it was a question of unserviceable ammunition, which even the manufacturer could not repair, as it was too old.
Gadzhev gave an assurance that the number of missiles that will be provided to Ukraine is minimal and will in no way endanger the combat readiness of the Bulgarian army.
An additional advantage was that the risk to Bulgarian military personnel from storing such unfit ammunition would be eliminated.
The state should focus on acquiring new anti-aircraft missile systems, Gadzhev said.
Vuzrazhdane repeated its familiar refrain that the proposed decision was treason. It has the habit of applying that term to practically all decisions taken by the ruling majority.
Earlier on September 27, Eftimov told Bulgarian National Television that the S-300 missiles that Bulgaria would supply to Ukraine represented between three and five per cent of Bulgaria’s total available quantity, and the armament that Bulgaria had provided so far did not affect the combat capability of the country’s military.
(Photo: Technical museum Togliatti, via Wikimedia Commons)
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