site.btaCorrection to Friday's BTA Story "Bulgaria Supplies Ukraine with Fit, Near End-of-Life Ammo, Defence Minister Says"
A BTA story on Friday misquoted a statement by Defence Minister Todor Tagarev in a bTV interview. The last paragraph should read:
"Reiterating that Bulgaria will not send service persons to Ukraine, he said that several thousand volunteers are fighting there right now."
Following is the corrected story:
Interviewed on bTV Friday evening, Bulgarian Defence Minister Todor Tagarev said that Bulgaria is already supplying Ukraine with ammunition that is fit for use but is nearing the end of its service life. These supplies exceed the standard levels for wartime stocks and for ensuring the armed forces' normal combat training, he specified.
"Once these requests are submitted by the President [Zelenskyy], they are high and important priorities. We will consider them carefully, we will assess our capacities and, acting in accordance with the law, we will make decisions if we are able to meet these requests," the Defence Minister added.
"At this point, we are basically supplying ammunition. An analysis will show what else we can provide. This is a complex process and may take months," Tagarev said further on.
He specified that Ukraine is no longer interested in Bulgarian aircraft and only enquires about parts or planes that can be cannibalized. Providing tanks is not an option for the time being, but the matter may be raised in future. Air defence systems, too, are subject to debate, but an analysis is coming.
Tagarev said that EU funds compensate some 55% of the value of fit-to-use but obsolete armaments and ammunition that Bulgaria provides to Ukraine. He explained that a small amount of these funds, raised from contributions by all Member States, is allocated for Bulgaria which contributes less than 0.5% of these funds.
He said that joining the EU's EUR 500 million ammo for Ukraine initiative is important because it will make possible investments in Bulgaria's defence industry, considering that this country is one of Europe's largest ammunition manufacturers.
Tagarev said that Bulgarian enterprises will no longer use intermediaries but will deal directly with the companies dealing with Ukraine. "When an Allied government says: this is the company we are dealing with, we are dealing with it. There are lots of small companies going round and looking for opportunities. This is not in Ukraine's interest, either, because it pushes the price up. When we had a we-don't-export-to-Ukraine policy, the void was filled by people eager for a share in these orders. Certain people capitalized on their function," the Defence Minister said.
"All Europe has rallied behind aiding Ukraine, realizing the strategic effect of the Ukrainian forces succeeding in liberating their entire territory and pushing back the occupier, so that we could seek a more lasting peace," Tagarev commented. "The worst case scenario is Russia capturing territories and gaining from its aggressive policy and, after a short respite, carrying on its aggressive intentions. Bringing the war to an end 'somehow' is not in our interest, either. Our interest is that Russia is pushed back. We must restore international legal order," the Defence Minister commented.
"Ukraine is highly motivated, and it will undoubtedly deoccupy its territories. This is the only way to achieve stability in Eastern Europe. If Russia attains its goals, it will start again," Tagarev added.
Reiterating that Bulgaria will not send service persons to Ukraine, he said that several thousand volunteers are fighting there right now.