A draft decision has been tabled in Bulgaria’s Parliament that, if approved, would mandate the government to supply military equipment to Ukraine.
Those behind the draft decision believe that it will be approved, while admitting – given scarce resources – it may have only symbolic value.
Tabled by a group of MPs from the Democratic Bulgaria coalition, part of the ruling majority, the draft decision mandates the government to provide military technical equipment to Ukraine, in accordance with Bulgaria’s capabilities and possibilities.
It says that financing for this should come from the state budget and from special funds of the European Union and Nato.
Democratic Bulgaria coalition co-leader Atanas Atanassov told Bulgarian National Radio on April 3 that his prediction was that the decision would be approved.
“In difficult situations, when there is a war 300km from Bulgaria, courage must be shown,” Atanassov said.
“Politicians must come to the forefront and make decisions,” he said.
“Bulgaria is a member of Nato and the EU.
“We take the position that neutrality in such a war always serves the aggressor. The victim must be supported. We must show solidarity and support the Ukrainian people in their struggle for independence,” Atanassov said.
Another of the constituent parties in the ruling coalition, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), has been adamant that it would vote against the decision.
Commenting on this to Bulgarian National Television on April 3, Democratic Bulgaria MP Stoyan Mihalev said: “We specifically do not have any coalition agreement with the BSP.
“Our agreement is with We Continue the Change,” he said.
Mihalev said that the BSP had supported the parliamentary declaration on Russia’s war on Ukraine, with the exception of the clause supporting sanctions “and this did not lead to the dissolution of the [governing] coalition”.
He was not persuaded that the opposition GERB party really would vote to support sending military assistance to Ukraine, as that party has said that it would.
“They suddenly turned out to be big Euro-Atlanticists, but let’s not forget that they helped Putin’s plans for this war. If it weren’t for the Russian Stream, it would be very difficult for Putin to start this war,” Mihalev said.
Atanassov, speaking to bTV, said that the decision was likely to be symbolic only, given Defence Minister Dragomir Zakov’s statements that Bulgaria lacked resources to provide to Ukraine.
But the decision had to be taken, in order to be “part of the democracy of the Western world,” he said.
Atanassov said that while he understood that the BSP would not support the decision, GERB and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms had indicated that they were ready to vote in favour.
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Nikola Minchev – of the WCC party – told Nova Televizia that the question had not yet been discussed by the WCC parliamentary group.
“At the moment, the humanitarian aid that Bulgaria is providing to Ukraine is highly valued,” Minchev said.
“[Ukrainian President] Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskyy explicitly pointed us out as a country that is helping,” he said.
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