site.btaUPDATED Bulgaria Readying More Aid for Ukraine - Defence Minister

Bulgaria Readying More Aid for Ukraine - Defence Minister
Bulgaria Readying More Aid for Ukraine - Defence Minister
Defence Minister Todor Tagarev, centre, surrounded by the media after a hearing on aid to Ukraine by the parliamentary defence committee, Sofia, February 28, 2024 (BTA Photo)

Bulgaria is preparing to provide additional assistance to Ukraine, Defence Minister Todor Tagarev said during a hearing in the parliamentary defence committee on Wednesday. "A proposal has been submitted by the Council of Ministers and its approval by the National Assembly will allow the Defense Ministry to continue working on this," the Minister explained.

Tagarev was summoned to answer MPs' questions regarding the military aid provided to Ukraine and the process of acquiring 3D radars. 

He reported to the committee the progress of implementing the parliamentary decisions on providing military assistance to Ukraine.

He told them that the first package of military aid, approved by the Parliament in late 2022, has been sent. It took over three weeks to ship APCs from various locations to a place where it is convenient to load them onto rail transport and there is now a clear schedule when trains will be available.

"The decision for [sending to Ukraine] defective missiles for the S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems has been implemented," the minister told the lawmakers. Parliament's decision to provide additional assistance, taken in June, has been almost fully implemented and another one of November 2023 is fully implemented.

"What we are providing is of a different order of priority. There is materiel that is sent away immediately by plane. Other material is not as important and a different means of transportation is used. In some cases it takes months to ship," Tagarev explained. 

He said that Bulgaria is ready to train Ukrainian servicemen on Bulgarian territory, but there has been no specific request.

The Bulgarian Parliament has adopted a resolution allowing passage through, and stay on the territory of, Bulgaria, for the purpose of training, on a rotational basis, of up to four infantry/mechanized companies per year, numbering up to 160 people from the armed forces of Ukraine, for the duration of the training.

Tagarev also said that Bulgaria will receive EUR 7 million from the EU for its aid to Ukraine. Also, Bulgarian projects are to be financed with USD 35 million under the US Foreign Military Financing programme.

Earlier today, Tagarev told reporters that Bulgaria has provided significant assistance to Bulgaria, including 7,000 tons of materiel, mainly ammunition. "We have provided tens of thousands of large-calibre rounds, millions of cartridges and many other things to Ukraine. And we will continue to do so to the best of our ability," the Minister explained.

The defence committee chair, Hristo Gadzhev (GERB-UDF), told reporters after the hearing that he is not satisfied with what the Defence Minister told them. He said that Ukraine has no time to wait as the Bulgarian administration "red-tape themselves". "We want to see a clear time schedule for what is to be done from now on. The June aid package is yet to be dispatched," said Gadzhev.

Since September, Ukraine has been asking that the APCs be shipped the fastest possible, and that will likely finally happen in March, he said. "The sending of the APCs is not the only thing that was delayed. Parliament did everything in a matter of days and then it is taking the executive branch months to do their job."

"Ukraine has no time to wait as we play bureaucrats. One of the main tasks for which the government was formed, was to provide assistance to Ukraine," said also the defence committee chair.

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By 03:32 on 13.04.2024 Today`s news

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