War in Ukraine: Bulgaria claims to supply 40% of ammunition used by Ukrainian army
Reversal of the situation in Bulgaria. While Sofia was hesitant to send military aid to Ukraine until last year. Now, almost half of the ammunition and shells used by the Armed Forces of Ukraine are manufactured in Bulgaria.
Bulgarian President Rumen Radev at the 78th United Nations General Assembly, in New York, September 20, 2023. © BRYAN R. SMITH / AFP
By: RFI Follow
With our correspondent in Sofia, Damian Vodenitcharov
It's been a year since the Bulgarian parliament voted to send military aid to Ukraine, which caused an uproar in the country. The arms industry is a powerful branch of the country's foreign relations. It was for this reason that the pro-Russian parties strongly opposed this aid.
Today, 40% of the ammunition and shells used by the Ukrainian army are manufactured in Bulgaria. This revelation comes from Defense Minister Todor Tagarev. According to him, the country's exports, up by some 500 million euros in 2023, have been strongly boosted by arms sales to Ukraine and allied countries that send aid to Kyiv.
A decision that is far from being for everyone
This political reversal is not without its detractors, notably the Socialist and Nationalist parties represented in Parliament. So did Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, who said he was in favour of "neutrality" with regard to the war in Ukraine.
Many are advocating a disengagement from Sofia from arms sales and sending military aid to Ukraine, which could involve Bulgaria in the war.
Bulgaria's arms industry has been in Russia's crosshairs for almost a decade. A series of suspicious explosions in weapons warehouses, as well as a novichok poisoning of an ammunition factory owner, cast a shadow over this economic sector, which experienced an unprecedented boom during this period.
Read alsoUkraine/Russia: the other information war
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