Defence Minister: Bulgaria preparing new package of military aid for Ukraine

Bulgaria is preparing a new package of military aid for Ukraine, which in financial terms will be several times larger than the arms and ammunition handed over to Kyiv so far, Defence Minister Todor Tagarev said in an interview with bTV on February 28.

The package will require a new decision by the National Assembly, Tagarev said.

He said that the armoured personnel carriers meant to be sent to Ukraine were still in Sofia.

“They will leave in a few days, but I won’t say the dates,” he said, adding that the higher-priority aid had long since left.

He said that there are also S-300 surface-to-air missile systems that leave much faster.

“We are implementing all the decisions of the National Assembly, but it takes time. We are working much more intensively and much more decisively than the caretaker government,” Tagarev said, rejecting GERB-UDF leader Boiko Borissov’s criticism that the cabinet has not given Ukraine a single bolt.

The constant attacks and criticisms against me are hindering the work and implementation of defence policies, Tagarev said.

“Until the entry of the cabinet, the aid that was given was worth 13 million euro. At this moment, the aid that we have given only from the army’s warehouses is valued at 47 million euro,” he said.

Responding to French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement that the possibility of sending Western ground troops to Ukraine could not be ruled out, Tagarev said: “We will not send soldiers to Ukraine, this issue is not discussed in our country. Our position is clear”.

According to Tagarev, it is very unlikely that a country would decide to send soldiers on its own.

“If a Nato member state enters Ukraine and then the conflict spills over into its territory, my understanding is that that would involve Nato. The aim is not to give the Kremlin too much leeway about what Western allies may or may not accept. That is why the question was clearly raised by Macron,” Tagarev said.

Asked why he was not part of the delegation in Kyiv led by Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov on February 26, Tagarev said that it was because he was in Paris. Macron had invited Denkov to the meeting in Paris but it had been decided that Tagarev would go in his stead, the Defence Minister said.

On February 28, Borissov called for Tagarev to be replaced as Defence Minister after the “rotation” planned for March when Maria Gabriel is intended to take over as Prime Minister.

Borissov described Tagarev as a “non-working minister”.

“I would not go to Kyiv to see Zelenskyy under any circumstances before I have fulfilled the decisions of Parliament, and he did not fulfill them,” said Borissov, whose call was supported by Movement for Rights and Freedoms co-leader Delyan Peevski.

(Photo: Defence Ministry)

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