Ukraine plea for military aid stumbles in Bulgaria
April 20, 2022 / 9:51 PM
Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska welcomes her Ukraine counterpart Dmytro Kuleba (L) prior their meeting in Sofia
Sharjah 24 – AFP: Ukraine's foreign minister on Wednesday appealed to Bulgaria to join international efforts and supply military aid to his country, as Russia's traditional ally remained one of the last hold-outs in the EU.
Ukraine has repeatedly pressed for NATO and EU member states to speed up their supply of military help since Russia invaded it on February 24, but Bulgaria -- which has had traditionally close ties with Russia -- has so far refused to do so.
"The government of Bulgaria and the parliament of Bulgaria know perfectly what the Ukrainian requests are... When you fight a war, you need everything -- from bullets to fighting planes. We gave the same list to all NATO members," Dmytro Kuleba said Wednesday after meetings in Bulgaria's parliament.
Ukraine's top diplomat arrived by car late Monday on a three-day visit to Bulgaria, a large producer of ammunition, anti-tank missiles and light arms.
The Balkan nation is among a handful of Eastern European countries with Soviet-built MiG-29 fighter jets that Ukraine has been pressing to receive as its pilots know how to fly them.
Kuleba discussed the issue of military aid in a meeting with Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and Defence Minister Dragomir Zakov on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska confirmed Wednesday.
He also met Wednesday morning with President Rumen Radev, who has voiced reticence to provide military support.
The Socialist BSP party has threatened to leave the ruling coalition if any aid is sent.
BSP leader and Economy Minister Kornelia Ninova, who controls arms export licences, has repeatedly stated that while she was in government "not a single nail" would be exported to Ukraine.
"We respect the political situation in Bulgaria and we will leave it to the parliament and to the government to decide how and when to help Ukraine," Kuleba said on Wednesday.
"But I want to reiterate once again: those who are reluctant, who are hesitant, who speak against the supply of weapons and different military equipment to Ukraine, they in fact support the Russian aggression and the murder of our citizens," he added.