Bulgaria sends 2,000 bulletproof vests and helmets to Ukraine

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Bulgaria will donate 2,000 helmets and 2,000 bulletproof vests to Ukraine to be used by its civilian citizens, Lena Borislavova, the head of the cabinet of Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, announced on Wednesday, adding that a decision on granting financial assistance to Ukraine will also be taken.

In Bulgaria, two pro-Russian parties, the nationalist Vazrazhdane and the Socialist party, a part of the four-party governing coalition, are blocking measures that would allow the government to send weapons to Ukraine.

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President Rumen Radev has also insisted that military equipment be donated to civilian Ukrainians. This makes Bulgaria and Hungary the only NATO members that have not sent weapons to Ukraine.

“This measure upgrades the humanitarian and other assistance provided by the government so far,” Borislavova said.

In January, a month before Russia invaded Ukraine, Germany announced it was donating 5,000 helmets to help its defence, provoking much criticism and ridicule.

In the hope that Bulgaria’s move would not be interpreted similarly, Borislavova listed the help Ukraine has so far received from Bulgaria.

“Bulgaria was one of the first countries to join the countries of Europe, which referred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine. This happened on 3 March,” she said.

“Then, on 24 March, Bulgaria was one of the first countries to respond to the call for additional financial assistance for the work of the International Criminal Court to provide a better opportunity to investigate and convict war crimes committed in Ukraine,” she added.

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Ten days ago, six former Bulgarian military ministers called on the country to help Ukraine with military equipment as soon as possible because “defence against Putin’s aggression is a common cause of the democratic world.”

Democratic Bulgaria, which is also in the ruling coalition, announced it was starting parliamentary consultations on a decision to send military aid to Ukraine. The former ruling party GERB submitted a proposal in parliament for which a decision is expected this week.

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