As expected, the parliamentary debate surrounding the resolution was contentious, with the pro-Kremlin minority party Vuzrazhdane and the Bulgarian Socialist Party vehemently opposed
As expected, the parliamentary debate surrounding the resolution was contentious, with the pro-Kremlin minority party Vuzrazhdane and the Bulgarian Socialist Party vehemently opposed (Image Courtesy-Lockheed Martin/Facebook)

Sofia, Bulgaria: In a significant move underscoring Bulgaria’s commitment to supporting Ukraine, the National Assembly voted decisively on December 8 to provide additional military aid to its Eastern European neighbour.

The resolution, passed with 145 votes in favour, 55 against, and seven abstentions, also opens the possibility of Bulgarian air space being utilized for F-16 training for Ukrainian pilots and allows a limited number of Ukrainian military personnel to transit or stay in Bulgaria for training.

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The resolution, put forward by MPs from the ruling majority parties GERB-UDF, We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria, and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, focuses on supplying Ukraine with defective, obsolete, and surplus missiles for air defence.

This military aid is contingent on ensuring Bulgaria maintains sufficient armaments and equipment to meet its wartime requirements.

As expected, the parliamentary debate surrounding the resolution was contentious, with the pro-Kremlin minority party Vuzrazhdane and the Bulgarian Socialist Party vehemently opposed.

Accusations that Bulgaria was being “dragged into the war” and concerns about the country’s defence capabilities were raised, echoing familiar refrains from previous debates.

The resolution addresses the provision of military aid and emphasizes cooperation with Bulgaria’s NATO allies.

Talks are slated to take place regarding the deployment of Alliance missile systems in Bulgaria to enhance the nation’s defensive capabilities.

The resolution further authorizes joint training initiatives and the use of Bulgarian air space to facilitate Ukraine in utilizing the F-16s it is set to receive.

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Ukrainian infantry or mechanized companies, up to 160 personnel per year, are also permitted to transit through or stay in Bulgaria for training purposes.

The parliamentary session saw emotional exchanges, with accusations of fearmongering and comparisons to historical events.

Vuzrazhdane leader Kostadin Kostadinov labelled the ruling majority as “traitors,” drawing parallels with historical events under Ottoman rule.

Speaker Rossen Zhelyazkov cautioned against inappropriate comparisons, particularly those involving Ukraine and Nazi Germany.

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Defence Minister Todor Tagarev, responding to the debate, maintained a measured tone despite raucous objections from the opposition benches.

He emphasized that aiding Ukraine in defending its sovereignty is a policy priority for the Bulgarian government.

Tagarev pointed out Ukraine’s past sacrifice of nuclear capabilities for guarantees of neutrality and sovereignty, including guarantees from Russia.

In response to accusations that the government was compromising Bulgaria’s military capacity, Tagarev highlighted historical instances, noting that military helicopters were sold off in the 1990s during the BSP’s governance.

He clarified that the missiles destined for Ukraine were surplus to Bulgaria’s requirements but could be utilized by the Ukrainians.

Tagarev also addressed calls for negotiations to end the conflict in Ukraine, dismissing them as hypocritical while Russia continued its aggressive actions.

He underscored that aiding Ukraine did not equate to engaging in war with Russia, pointing out that over 50 countries were providing military and financial aid to Ukraine without entering into conflict with Russia.

The parliamentary decision reflects Bulgaria’s commitment to standing with Ukraine in a challenging geopolitical landscape, emphasizing the importance of international collaboration and support in times of crisis.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members