site.btaUPDATED Socialists Demand Defence Minister’s Resignation, Extraordinary Meeting of Defence Committee in Parliament
The “BSP for Bulgaria” parliamentary group demands the resignation of Defence Minister Todor Tagarev, MP Atanas Zafirov told journalists in Parliament on Tuesday. He commented that the ruling majority is about to commit another national betrayal by donating more ammunition to Ukraine. "We demand the resignation of Minister Tagarev," Zafirov said, adding that he expected an extraordinary meeting of the defence committee in Parliament.
Zafirov explained that the motion is a reaction to a draft decision on providing additional military aid to Ukraine, signed by the leaders in the ruling majority: Boyko Borissov (GERB), Hristo Ivanov (Democratic Bulgaria), Delyan Peevski (Movement for Rights and Freedoms) and Kiril Petkov (Continue the Change).
According to BSP for Bulgaria, the government intends to donate the last remaining reliable protection of the sky over Sofia and the nuclear power plant, namely the ammunition for the S-300 anti-aircraft missile complexes. On Tuesday, an extraordinary meeting of the defence committee has been called, with a single item - providing these munitions to Ukraine, Zafirov said.
He commented that the draft decision quotes provisions of the Law on Defence, which says that Parliament exercises control over the bodies of executive power. Nowhere does it say that Parliament can donate ammunition and weapons in this way, Zafirov pointed out.
“Is the Prime Minister aware of what is happening, is the Council of Ministers aware of who is politically responsible and when will Minister Tagarev finally resign for the things he is doing?” Zafirov asked.
Bulgaria is turning into a country where it is neither clear who takes the decisions nor who bears the political responsibility, the MP commented.
In his opinion, the transfer of responsibility to the National Assembly is absolutely unacceptable.
The extraordinary meeting of the Defence Committee in Parliament is scheduled for 2:30 pm.
The donation of defective missiles from the S-300 complexes will in no way endanger the functioning of the Bulgarian missile defence, and this is something that the Ministry of Defence has been repeating for weeks, according to Hristo Gadzhev of GERB-UDF who, together with Ivaylo Mirchev of CC-DB, commented on the draft decision before journalists in Parliament. Gadzhev, Mirchev, and the leaders of the parliamentary political forces supporting the government clarified that the missiles in question could not be used by the Bulgarian army.
The draft decision on additional military aid to Ukraine provides ammunition and unserviceable missiles, MRF’s Delyan Peevski who co-sponsored the decision told journalists.
“I understand that the BSP have created some expectation and some tension - I do not understand what it is about,” he commented on the statement of MP Atanas Zafirov.
At an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday, the National Assembly's defence committee will consider a proposal that Bulgaria send Ukraine unserviceable anti-aircraft guided missiles and ammunition for automatic small arms with obsolete requirements for the needs of the Interior Ministry.
The proposal states that in the last eight months the Russian army has carried out over 38,000 shelling attacks of populated areas in Ukraine. As a result, nearly 8,000 civilians, including children, have been injured. Nearly 1,500 civilians have died in these shelling incidents. This is precisely why Bulgaria must support Ukraine in its efforts to protect its civilians from Russian shelling.
The proposal to provide additional military assistance to Ukraine is not about anti-aircraft missile systems. This is what Defence Minister Todor Tagarev explained to journalists before the start of Tuesday's extraordinary session of the National Assembly's Defence Committee.
The Defence Committee is discussing the proposal for Bulgaria to send to Ukraine unserviceable anti-aircraft guided missiles and ammunition for automatic small arms of the 5.56x45 mm calibre, which are no longer needed by the Ministry of Interior.
The Defence Minister explained that Bulgaria will provide Ukraine with missiles that are not repairable, and no anti-aircraft missile complexes of any kind. He did not comment on what quantity and added that he was ready to discuss this at a closed session of the committee.
“Our governance programme envisages one major project for rearmament of the Bulgarian army - the purchase of combat equipment to equip three battalion battle groups of a mechanised brigade. We are very advanced in this process and the project for investment expenditure has been submitted to the National Assembly,” Todor Tagarev said, adding that he expects that before the National Assembly goes on leave for the local elections, there will be approval of this project.
It is better not to store malfunctioning anti-aircraft guided missiles because it is dangerous and the lives of the personnel may be endangered, said Chief of Defence Admiral Emil Eftimov on Tuesday at the Novo Selo training ground, commenting on the draft decision.
He added that anti-aircraft guided missiles cannot be repaired. Bulgaria’s weapons and equipment are mostly Soviet-era, it is normal that they cannot be maintained, he said.