site.btaParliament Supports Repair of Ukrainian Military Equipment in Bulgaria
After five-hours of debates on Wednesday, the Bulgarian Parliament voted to mandate the government to provide assistance to Ukraine: humanitarian, financial and military-technical, including repairs of Ukrainian military equipment in Bulgaria, according to Bulgaria's capacity. The draft resolution proposed by Continue the Change was adopted on 200-16 votes with one abstention.
It was backed by all four parties in the government coalition, as well as the formerly ruling GERB and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF).
The nationalist Vazrazhdane partry voted against.
The resolution says that Bulgaria:
- will continue to support Ukraine's EU membership aspiration;
- provide assistance to Ukrainian people fleeing the war;
- assist the export of Ukrainian grain via the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Varna;
- strengthen energy cooperation in general and particularly the supply of electricity and natural gas;
- repair Ukrainian military equipment in Bulgarian military industrial plants;
- continue providing humanitarian aid, especially medicines, clothing and foodstuffs.
Two other draft resolutions - one by the power-sharing Democratic Bulgaria and another by the formerly ruling GERB, were voted down.
The Democratic Bulgaria proposal was for mandating the government to provide military-technical assistance to Kyiv. The GERB-UDF proposal, too, envisaged military-technical assistance.
MRF leader Mustafa Karadayi described Wednesday's voting in Parliament as a vote of no-confidence in the government.
Socialist Borislav Goutsanov said that providing military assistance will make Bulgaria a direct participant in the war and suggested that a referendum on the matter should be held.
Vazrazhdane leader Kostadin Kostadinov said in a statement that Bulgarians in Ukraine "are waiting to be saved by the Russian army".
Responding to that, Antoaneta Tsoneva of Democratic Bulgaria asked if it is missiles or maybe candy falling on Odessa.
Defence Minister Dragomir Zakov also reacted, writing in a Facebook post that members of the Bulgarian community in Ukraine "are fighting in the Ukrainian army against the aggressor" and that some of them have died for Ukraine's freedom. "That is the truth and anything else is manipulations," he wrote.
Before the vote
Assistance to Ukraine has been a highly contentious issue for the ruling coalition as the power-sharing Socialist party have been saying throughout that they would leave the coalition if the government decides on military assistance. Representatives of Continue the Change said that they are willing to reword their proposal to make sure the resolution does not inflame the Socialists and the coalition is not put to risk.
The matter was apparently discussed at a meeting of the coalition partners late on Tuesday night but no progress was made there towards a single decision.
As the MPs were going into the morning sitting, protesters outside the Parliament building rallied against military aid for Ukraine. The protest was organized under the slogan "To protect peace and Bulgaria's neutrality!".
In the afternoon, supporters of the opposite position rallied in favour of sending military assistance to Kyiv.
The Vazrazhdane party declared civil disobedience during a press conference without providing further details as to what this disobedience will entail.