site.btaUPDATED PM Denkov: None of Supplies to Ukraine Will Erode Bulgaria's National Security

PM Denkov: None of Supplies to Ukraine Will Erode Bulgaria's National Security
PM Denkov: None of Supplies to Ukraine Will Erode Bulgaria's National Security
PM Denkov (left) and President Zelenskyy in Sofia, July 6, 2023 (BTA Photo)

Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov said here Friday that Bulgaria is not sending to Ukraine anything that would compromise the Bulgarian national security. He was approached by reporters on the matter a day after the Sofia visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the invitation of the government. “Everything that is needed to protect our territory, our skies, will be here in Bulgaria,” he said. 

Before that, he took questions from MPs in Parliament, including questions about the aid that Bulgaria is sending to Ukraine. 

Denkov was asked whether the two sides discussed sending Bulgarian-made C-300 air defence systems but he said he would not take questions about technical parameters. "We only discussed opportunities to make Bulgaria feel protected at all times. Everything Bulgaria needs to protect its skies will be here, and this includes the availability of S-300 missile systems.”

In his words, "we certainly cannot send air defence systems that would leave bear the skies over Bulgaria". 

Asked to elaborate on a remark by Defence Minister Todor Tagarev that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had brought during his Sofia visit Thursday a list of what Ukraine wants, the Prime Minister explained that what should be clear is that President Zelenskyy's job is to seek the appropriate military assistance and to have a list ready to be presented. "We can only provide military equipment that will not endanger our safety," the prime minister said.

Denkov also commented that statements in Parliament's debating chamber during the Q&A session on Friday mixed up Zelenskyy's list with what Bulgaria could actually provide, and the two things are different. "Mixing up the two leads to tensions, which is utterly unnecessary," said the Prime Minister.  

He also said: “First, a review is done of the needs for the combat capability of the Bulgarian Armed Forces, what part of the ammunition has an expiry date, so that we do not have to pay for the disposal of this ammunition and they are sent before their expiry date. Nothing will be sent that impairs our ability to defend our country as required from a military and military technical point of view.” 

He said that Bulgaria will train Ukrainian doctors and nurses will be trained in Bulgaria as part of the assistance to Ukraine. 

Asked by the press about the preparation of a third package of military aid for Ukraine, Denkov said that the second package had been prepared by the caretaker government and the sending of materiel continues. “Currently, the preparation of the third package is underway.”

No Bulgarian troops to be sent to Ukraine

The Prime Minister reiterated that no service persons will be going to Ukraine. “As for the allegations about battalions being sent, we have said repeatedly that such possibility has not been discussed, is not discussed and there are no plans to send personnel for the military operations in Ukraine. Not even doctors and nurses,” he said.

Asked if Bulgaria will seek new technologies from its allies, if it has to change its air defence system, he said that is an option. "Maybe Bulgaria has missed some opportunities under the caretaker government but any action in this direction [of migrating to a different air defence system] takes months and sometimes years. The Ukrainian delegation was interested in fast solutions," he said.

The Prime Minister said that Bulgaria is also interested in cooperation with Russia, “but not under these conditions”.

“We have a long-term interest in cooperation with Ukraine in high-tech, energy, nuclear energy and many other areas.”

Sofia Visit between the EU Council meeting and the NATO Summit

He also explained that Zelenskyy visited Sofia at this particular moment because a NATO Summit is coming up and he is seeking the right time to rally support for his country's accession. "Clearly, this [Ukraine's accession to NATO] cannot happen right now," Denkov added.

“We are one month into the government. It is obvious that the visit was prepared relatively shortly and there were no conditions for it before. We were looking for the right time and the right time turned out to be after the EU Council meeting and before the Vilnius summit and that is why it is taking place now,” the Prime Minister said.

As for a possible nuclear threat, he said he believes there to be no imminent danger now but such threat “has always come from the Russian leadership”. “They have repeatedly, on various occasions, tried to use this card. What I do know is that the international community has very strongly warned the Russian leadership that this is completely unacceptable

Clash of two totally different perceptions of the world

Asked about the meeting between Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and President Zelensky on Thursday, Denkov said he saw a clash of two completely different perceptions of the world. "It is probably clear from my statements which of these views I share," he added.

President Radev is against sending military aid to Ukraine for fear that it would deplete the capacity to protect national security.

“I agree with what President Zelensky said. We have to respect the institutions, the opinion of other people, we have to listen to them carefully, but we also have to have our own position. As prime minister, I have a very clear position and this is the position I expressed yesterday,” Denkov added.

"The entire international order is based on the fact that borders should not change and if they start to change, the world will become totally unstable," he also said. He argued that if Ukraine becomes a NATO member, it means that a possible aggression from the east, from anyone, it will have a buffer between that aggressor and Bulgaria. 

He said that Zelenskyy's visit got "people thinking what it really means to be a patriot".

He said that Zelenskyy did not go to Parliament because that was how his agenda was planned - but he did meet with parliamentary leaders.

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By 01:48 on 21.05.2024 Today`s news

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