Ukrainian Ambassador to Bulgaria Vitaly Moskalenko informed that Ukraine had requested the Bulgarian government to supply the country with heavy weapons to counter the Russian offensive in Donbas.
Ukraine announced in early May that it did not need Bulgarian weapons and asked the country only to repair tanks in Bulgarian military plants.
However, the situation in Ukraine has now changed, and the country is in dire need of specific weapons such as howitzers, mortars and missile systems, said Moskalenko.
A month ago, after serious tensions in the ruling coalition, parliament decided that Bulgaria would help Ukraine with weapons repairs, giving the government the mandate to provide military-technical assistance to Kyiv, which includes the repair of Ukrainian tanks and does not allow the sending of weapons and ammunition.
“Ukrainians perceive Bulgaria as a friendly country that assists. But there is always a “but”, Moskalenko said.
“Currently, we have very serious fighting in Donbas, where Russian artillery exceeds 20 times Ukrainian artillery,” he added.
Bulgaria does not send weapons directly to Ukraine, but unofficially Bulgarian military plants are a major supplier of ammunition to the Ukrainian army. Transactions are concluded through intermediaries.
Though the leading party in the ruling coalition for “Change continues” has commented that more information is needed on Ukraine’s request before action can be taken, Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister and leader of the pro-Russian Bulgarian Socialist Party, Cornelia Ninova, said the she rejected Ukraine’s request.
Ninova referred to the decision of the parliament that Bulgaria will help Ukraine with the care of refugees, support for EU membership and repair of military equipment.
The pro-Russian nationalist Vazrazhdane party leader, Kostadin Kostadinov, has openly declared that “the very act of the Ukrainian ambassador is brazen”, and the diplomat must be declared persona non grata and expelled from Bulgaria.