Bulgaria Sent Weapons Worth $1 Billion to Ukraine through Intermediaries

Monday, 6 March 2023

Bulgarian arms worth billions of dollars have entered Ukraine through other countries in the past two years without Ukraine and Bulgaria even having to agree to a single direct deal.

Even before the war, from the start of 2021 until 24 February 2022, Ukraine made no direct deals with Bulgarian arms companies, which are major exporters of weapons and ammunition produced according to Soviet standards for the Ukrainian army.

However, last year alone, Bulgaria indirectly exported at least $1 billion in arms to Ukraine, Euractiv sources report.

Although Kornelia Ninova, the leader of the pro-Russian socialists in Bulgaria has repeated that she would not allow the export of Bulgarian weapons to the Ukrainian army, the Bulgarian arms industry had record-large sales abroad, mainly to Poland and Romania, from where the weapons were then sent to Ukraine.

"Bulgarian arms companies do not sell weapons and ammunition directly to Ukrainian companies because the practice for this to happen is through foreign programmes,"  Velizar Shalamanov, former Acting Defence Minister, former Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the NATO Communications and Information Agency, and now director at the Atlantic Club told EURACTIV Bulgaria.

"There is a well-funded programme in the UK, the US and Poland. The armaments needed for Ukraine are bought through this programme, that is, the money is not Ukrainian but British, American, Polish or European. That is why these are bought through other companies. In addition, logistics is important, and as we all know, this is mainly organised through Poland and it is the responsibility of those companies that buy from the Bulgarian market," Shalamanov explained.

In January, the former Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Kiril Petkov, said that the supply of Bulgarian weapons to Ukraine took place through intermediary countries, which made it possible to overcome the resistance of pro-Russian forces in the coalition and the parliament.

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