Bulgaria to send Ukraine ammo that “can turn the tide of the war" - ex-defence minister
Bulgaria will most likely sell a huge amount of ammunition to Ukraine through intermediaries, which could significantly affect the course of the war, Boyko Noev, Bulgaria’s former defence ministry said in an interview with a local TV station.
According to Mr Noev, Bulgaria’s interim defence ministry will transfer old ammunition worth almost 175 million euros to the state military plant VMZ, receiving new ammunition in return.
This way, a huge amount of old ammunition could be transported from the Bulgarian army's warehouses to Ukraine, claims the country’s ex-defense minister.
"This is the largest rearmament of the Bulgarian land forces in recent history. That’s a huge amount of ammunition – hundreds of thousands. There is a huge increase in the prices of ammunition, and VMZ will sell this ammunition through intermediaries to Ukraine," Euractiv quoted Mr Noev as saying.
The Bulgarian army has stockpiles of Soviet-standard ammunition, which the Ukrainian army needs for tanks, howitzers, anti-tank grenade launchers, Soviet multiple rocket launchers, AK-47 rifles, and more.
"This is an amount of ammunition that can turn the tide of the war in some directions on the Ukrainian front," Bulgaria’s former defence minister believes.
Earlier this week, defence minister Dimitar Stoyanov commented that the scheme with VMZ was only agreed to "for the purpose of renewing wartime stocks" for the army. This is part of the decision of the National Assembly [parliament] to "provide support for Ukraine", he added.
Just a couple of days ago, Bulgaria’s president Rumev Radev said that his country would only sell weapons and ammunition to Europe provided that it would not end up in Ukraine – despite the parliament having decided in mid-December 2022 that the Bulragian army would send direct military aid to Ukraine.
As a vehement opponent of military support to Ukraine, Mr Radev did not veto the parliament’s decision at the time but said that there would be no more supplies as long as the interim government was in power in Bulgaria.
If Bulgarian ammunition was to be transferred to Ukraine through intermediaries, the president would be able to continue to tell his supporters that Sofia is not helping Kyiv militarily, Euractiv notes.
Despite strong pro-Russian influence in the region, Bulgaria in the early months of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine provided critical military support.
The-then government, led by the leader of the pro-European We Continue the Change party, Kiril Petkov, managed to bypass the veto of its more Russia-leaning coalition partner and send hundreds of millions of euros in Soviet-old military equipment and ammunition.