site.btaBSP for Bulgaria Leave Plenary Hall during Debate on Additional Military Assistance to Ukraine
The BSP for Bulgaria group left the plenary hall during Wednesday's closed-door debate on the provision of additional military assistance to Ukraine, Socialist MP Atanas Zafirov told a news briefing of his parliamentary group after the debate. The draft resolution envisages the provision of unserviceable anti-aircraft guided missiles to Ukraine, but Zafirov said it remained unclear during the debate what "unserviceable" means.
The draft resolution was tabled by Boyko Borissov and Hristo Gadzhev of GERB-UDF, Hristo Ivanov, Ivaylo Mirchev, and Kiril Petkov of Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria, and Delyan Peevski of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. Attending the debate were the Chief of Defence, Admiral Emil Eftimov, and the Deputy Commander of the Air Force, Brigadier General Petyo Mirchev.
"The BSP for Bulgaria group left the plenary hall in protest, in disagreement, in confirmation of our thesis that this is an extreme form of national treason and irresponsible behaviour on the part of the draft resolution's sponsors, the political leadership, but that does not mean that we will not continue with all permitted forms of protest and political actions allowed by the law to prevent this act from being committed," Zafirov said. The Socialists were also dissatisfied with how the representatives of the military leadership presented the facts during the debate.
BSP leader Korneliya Ninova said that the military leadership said they do not know what and how much will be given to Ukraine. They should not be held responsible, because what is required of them is only to report on what Bulgaria has; they have fulfilled their duties and from there onwards, the decision rests with the government and the political leadership, she argued. In her words, that is frighteningly alarming, because it would mean that high-ranking service persons have no idea what is happening in the State when it comes to the aid for Ukraine.
Ninova argued further that the way the draft resolution is formulated, it basically hands the government a blank cheque to decide what and how much to give. "We give an alternative proposal: there should be a classified annex to the resolution that lists the exact numbers being given," she said. The Socialists claim that this is a national security threat, that is why they left the plenary hall.
On Bulgarian National Television's morning show, Chief of Defence Eftimov explained that Bulgaria does not intend to give its entire arsenal of C-300 missiles to Ukraine. "The unservicable C-300 missiles that we are discussing to send to Ukraine are between 3% and 5% of our total available quantity, and the weapons we have provided so far do not affect the combat capability of our army," he noted. Eftimov said that while the Bulgarian Land Forces are equal to their NATO allies in training, desire and procedures, the equipment is still at Soviet standard. "Modernization is underway. The government has approved the project for modernisation of the Land Forces. I hope we will be called to the Defence Committee to defend our arguments so the Land Forces can get a boost," he added.