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Ukrainian, Bulgarian defense ministers sign memorandum on security cooperation

by Nate Ostiller October 12, 2023 10:54 PM 2 min read
Ukraine's Defense Minister Rustem Umerov and Bulgaria's Defense Minister Todor Tagarev (Rustem Umerov/Twitter)
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Defense Minister Rustem Umerov met with his Bulgarian counterpart Todor Tagarev, and signed a memorandum on bilateral security cooperation, Umerov wrote on Twitter on Oct. 12.

The memorandum increased the spectrum of bilateral cooperation in a variety of security-related areas, including "cyberdefense, strategic communications, and receiving military-technical support," said Umerov.

Bulgaria's President Rumen Radev has consistently opposed providing Ukraine with large-scale defense assistance. He has been accused of having a pro-Moscow stance and called Crimea "Russian" during a 2021 presidential debate.

Bulgarian MP: Bulgaria can send 100 armored vehicles to Ukraine
Bulgaria could provide 100 armored vehicles from the storage of the Interior Ministry, member of the parliament Ivaylo Mirchev said on July 13, as cited by Euronews Bulgaria.

After the Bulgarian parliament approved arms supplies to Kyiv in December, the interim cabinet provided the first package of military aid, but further aid was reportedly blocked by Radev.

However, the new government, which was formed in early June under Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov, appears to be taking active steps to help Ukraine repel Russian aggression.

Since then, Bulgaria has directly sent Ukraine a variety of military hardware, including ammunition and armored personnel carriers.  

Rustem and Tagarev also discussed how Bulgaria will help with English-language courses for future F-16 Ukrainian pilots.

In August 2023, the first group of Ukrainian pilots were selected to be part of the F-16 training program, but the lack of English language skills created a significant obstacle.

Some pilots were sent to the U.S. and the U.K. for English language training in September 2023.

On Oct. 11, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that Ukraine could receive F-16s in spring 2024.

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