Bulgaria has been busted. The Balkan nation’s deeds are out in the open. It has cheated its people and kept them in dark. An investigation by Euractiv has revealed that it sent arms worth billions of dollars to Ukraine. This has been going on for two years. It has exported an array of arms and ammunition.
At the time when Kornelia Ninova was serving as Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister, she had declared that she would not grant permission for the export of Bulgarian weapons to Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s invasion. However, from January 2021 to 24 February 2022, Ukrainian forces were able to make indirect purchases from Bulgarian arms companies, who are major exporters of weapons and ammunition designed in accordance with Soviet standards for the Ukrainian army. The arms export permits issued by the Bulgarian state during this period added up to a total of €1.1 – €1.3 billion.
Alexander Mihailov, former executive director of the state company “Kintex”, through which the country’s arms exports pass, confirmed the remarkable Bulgarian exports this year. He stated that when there was an international armed conflict, the use of defence-related products typically rose. Bulgaria’s arms industry encountered a substantial increase in sales abroad, especially to Poland and Romania, from where the weapons were then shipped to Ukraine. Big state-owned arms plants such as those in Sopot, Karlovo, and Kazanlak reported a 100% increase in sales.
Former Defence Minister Velizar Shalamanov has stated that Bulgarian arms companies do not directly sell weapons and ammunition to Ukrainian companies. He said that these purchases are organised through foreign programmes, with the most prominent being in Great Britain, the United States and Poland. Logistics are primarily organised through Poland, and the responsibility falls on the companies purchasing from the Bulgarian market.
Also Read: The Netherlands and Bulgaria are set to defy EU’s sanctions on Russia
In a television interview on 25 January, the former executive director of the primary state military plant in Sopot, Ivan Ivanov, explained that Bulgaria did not export weapons and ammunition to Ukraine.
So, even though Bulgaria and Ukraine were unable to agree to a single direct deal, the indirect sale of weapons to the war-torn country had been occurring even before the conflict broke out. This was possible through international trading schemes and programmes with great funding in Great Britain, the United States and Poland, and the logistics organised through these countries. The expose by Euractiv investigation will bring a political storm not only in Bulgaria but will directly impact its relations with Russia.
Leave a Reply