Bulgaria is looking for money to transfer 100 APCs to Ukraine

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In a generous act meant to strengthen Ukraine’s military capabilities, Bulgaria pledged to provide 100 armored personnel carriers. This charitable move was ratified by the Bulgarian parliament at the closure of 2023. Yet, it emerges that Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is pitching for financial assistance in this endeavor. 

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The onus is now on the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense to locate a NATO ally or a Ukraine supporter to shoulder the fiscal responsibilities associated with the transportation of the donated armored personnel carriers. This was made known by the Bulgarian Defense Minister Todor Tagarev during a parliamentary defense committee meeting held on January 17. 

Tagarev’s words, as reported by the Bulgarian National Radio [BNR], underline this objective – “The logistics surrounding their loading and transportation have been resolved. It’s a complex operation indeed. The cost involved is surely significant. Although our budget can withstand it, we’re hopeful that one of our allies might think this an admirable initiative and offer to cover the transport costs. If this isn’t an option, we’ll explore alternatives for funding. And we will certainly reach out to you if the need arises”.

Photo by Maria Fileva

The timeline

The Bulgarian National Assembly has marked November 22nd in history by ratifying an intergovernmental agreement with Kyiv. This treaty paves the way for Bulgaria’s Ministry of Internal Affairs to ship 100 decommissioned armored personnel carriers [APCs] to Ukraine. 

Do a little digging, and you’ll discover that this deal found its roots all the way back in July of last year. Fast forward a month, and it was etched in ink in Sofia and finally buttoned up in Ukraine on November 13. It’s worth underscoring that any agreement tickling the edges of military and technical corporations requires an additional pinch of formal sanction from the Bulgarian Parliament. 

© BGNES

Something is intriguing about this agreement. It began to bear fruit even before it was given the official stamp of approval. This detail was not lost during the signing ceremony. If you recall, Bulgaria had previously insinuated that the APCs would be en route to Ukraine somewhere in the September-October timeframe. 

The APCs, which have been lying dormant in the inventory of Bulgaria’s Ministry of Internal Affairs since the 1980s, are finally moving out. Here’s a fun fact: This move is a first of its kind, with Sofia sending armored gear to Kyiv directly and ditching the usual practice of sending it through intermediaries.

The president tried to stop the donation

In the early days of December 2023, the action of dispatching 100 Armored Personnel Carriers [APCs] to Ukraine was temporarily put on hold. This halt occurred when the Bulgarian President, Rumen Radev, prompted a fresh parliamentary debate concerning the ratification of the legal provision that would permit Bulgaria to provide Ukraine with armored transport equipment free of charge. 

Article 101 of the Bulgarian Constitution bestows upon the president the power to return any enacted law or parts of the law to the parliament for reassessment and re-voting, within a designated 15-day period.

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