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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

NATO Ally Suddenly Blocks Weapons for Ukraine

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev vetoed the transfer of 100 decommissioned armored vehicles from Sofia to Ukraine on Monday just weeks after Bulgaria’s parliament approved the agreement.

According to Bulgarian broadcaster NOVA, Radev sent the agreement back to parliament for a new discussion, stating that the representatives who signed off on the deal were not “familiar” enough with the issue. The Bulgarian National Assembly ratified the agreement ↗ between its country’s Interior Ministry and Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense on November 22, and Sofia officials said that the transport vehicles were no longer needed by Sofia’s military.

NATO members including Bulgaria have been steadfast in their support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s aggression. But as tensions rise between Russia and members of the military alliance, some European countries have begun taking steps to secure their own borders ↗ in case the fighting spreads beyond Ukraine.

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev on Saturday speaks at the United Nations climate summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Radev on Monday vetoed the transfer of decommissioned armored vehicles to Ukraine.
GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images

In his motion published by NOVA Monday, Radev said he does not think that representatives of Bulgarian’s National Assembly “sufficiently investigated” whether the vehicles in question were no longer needed by Sofia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.

“From the discussions during the adoption of the draft law in the National Assembly, it is clear that a large part of them were not familiar with the specific list of the equipment provided at the time of the vote, which makes it impossible for them to assess whether it is actually no longer necessary,” Radev wrote.

The Bulgarian president added that his Ministry of the Interior’s “wartime tasks” were not taken into account when lawmakers approved the transfer, saying there were no plans to replace the ministry’s armored vehicles after donating them to Ukraine.

“Moreover, even at the moment, the Border Police General Directorate does not have a sufficient amount of the high-terrain equipment it needs,” Radev continued. “Currently, this deficit is being compensated with transport equipment from the Bulgarian Army. The armored high-terrain transport equipment provided to Ukraine with this Agreement could be used in the protection of the Bulgarian border—a matter of essential importance, both for internal security and for the implementation of the country’s foreign policy priority for the full accession of Bulgaria to the Schengen area.”

Newsweek on Monday reached out to Radev’s office and Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense via email for comment.

Other NATO ↗ members, including the United States ↗, have also promised to send tanks to Ukraine’s front lines. According to a report from the BBC ↗ in September, Washington has signed off on providing 31 of its Abrams tanks to Kyiv. Ukraine is also poised to receive armored vehicles from the United Kingdom (14 Challenger 2 tanks), Germany (14 Leopard 2 tanks) and Spain (six Leopard 2 tanks).

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

BFIA Admin
BFIA Admin
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