Bulgaria on Friday decided to send 100 armored vehicles to Ukraine. Purchased in the 1980s, these Soviet-designed BTR armored personnel carriers have never been used before.
Bulgaria on Friday decided to send 100 armored vehicles to Ukraine. This is a first for this Balkan country, which, due to its close historical ties with Moscow, has so far been unwilling to help Kiev directly.
Parliament approved by a large majority (148 votes in favour, 52 against) this proposal from the new pro-European government, which has launched a new strategy after previous transitional governments were keen not to get involved in the conflict. Purchased in the 1980s, these Soviet-designed BTR armored personnel carriers were never deployed.
“Bulgaria no longer needs this equipment, which can provide valuable support to Ukraine in its struggle to preserve its independence and territorial integrity,” the text reads.
A large stock of Soviet weapons
The socialists of the PSB, successor to the communist party that once ruled the country, opposed the decision, as did the young pro-Russian ultranationalist formation Vazrajdane (Renaissance), which denounced “a treason and a disgrace”.
Bulgaria, a member of the EU and NATO, has a large inventory of Soviet equipment and weapons, and also produces ammunition. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also came to Sofia in early July to talk about speeding up deliveries.
Since that visit, the government has announced an unprecedented aid package, believed to include weapons and grenades, although it declined to give details because the issue is so divided in the country.
In practice, however, the armaments factories have been running at full speed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to the Ministry of Economy, the industry’s exports surged, with goods transiting through third countries before reaching Ukraine.