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Media: Bulgaria delays supply of pledged armored vehicles to Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 20, 2024 12:05 PM 2 min read
An armored vehicle pledged by Bulgaria to Ukraine. (Todor Tagarev/Facebook)
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The delivery of 100 Bulgarian armored personnel carriers to Ukraine has been delayed as the Bulgarian Defense Ministry asks NATO to cover the transport costs, Euractiv reported on Feb. 20, citing Bulgarian lawmakers and officials.

The news comes even though Bulgarian Defense Minister Todor Tagarev said on Feb. 2 that the operation to deliver the vehicles has begun.

Bulgaria's Interior Ministry in 2023 concluded an agreement with the Ukrainian Defense Ministry to provide 100 older vehicles from its stocks. The Bulgarian parliament gave its final approval to the deal last December.

Almost three months later, there is no information on them actually arriving in Ukraine.

"Bulgaria can help Ukraine a lot, but this is delayed due to the fact that the administration of the (Bulgarian) Ministry of Defense does not work optimally," Ivaylo Mirchev, a lawmaker from the PP–DB coalition that sits in the government, told Euractiv.

Tagarev said that the transfer has been delayed as the Bulgarian government investigates whether NATO allies could finance the transport.

"This is not an elementary transport operation because quite a number of train sets have to be engaged," Tagarev told the state BNR radio on Feb. 19.

Initially a hesitant partner, Bulgaria has become increasingly supportive of Ukraine as the war has progressed. In its December decision, the country's parliament has greenlighted not only the armored vehicles but also the supply of Soviet-era air defense missiles to Ukraine.

Bulgaria’s Soviet stockpiles and large defense industry may be key to Ukraine’s success
Bulgaria has had to walk a fine line, trying to covertly support Ukraine without provoking Russia. The Balkan state has been historically influenced by Moscow. Opinions on Ukraine are split among its 6.7 million people, many of whom buy into Kremlin propaganda. The new coalition government elected…
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