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Bulgarian government approves military aid package for Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek June 27, 2023 2:00 AM 2 min read
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Despite opposition from the country's president, the Bulgarian government approved on June 26 a new military aid package for Ukraine, the press service of the Council of Ministers announced on its website.

While the contents of the package remain classified, Sofia said it will be "comparable in value to the previous package approved by the interim government on Dec. 22, 2022."

The announcement comes after efforts to renew past aid to Ukraine were delayed by President Rumen Radev, who has consistently opposed providing large-scale military assistance. Radev has been accused of having a pro-Kremlin stance and once referred to Crimea as "Russian" during presidential debates in 2021.

After the parliament's approval on Dec. 9, 2022 for supplying Kyiv with arms, the incumbent interim cabinet provided the first package of military assistance but further aid was reportedly stalled by Radev.

The end of a two-year political deadlock in the country in early June, however, has brought in a new government under Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov that appears to be taking active steps to support Ukraine.

On June 15, Defense Minister Todor Tagarev told Politico that Sofia wishes to join the EU's initiative to supply $2.2 billion worth of artillery shells to Ukraine.

According to media reports, a previous cabinet of then-Prime Minister Kiril Petkov also provided Ukraine with much-needed military aid only days after the Feb. 24 invasion but did so outside the public eye and via third parties to avoid domestic political backlash.

According to opinion polls, large segments of the Bulgarian population take a neutral stance on the war in Ukraine and only 16.3% believe that the country should support Ukraine.

Ukraine to receive billions in military aid after Ramstein summit
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on June 15 that the U.S., the U.K., Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Norway, and Italy pledged new military aid packages to Ukraine at the 13th Ramstein-format summit of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) in Brussels.
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