Bulgarian Arms Found in Aleppo 'Raise Questions' - Russia
Bulgaria has comfortably preferred to leave export of military output to third countries "unregulated," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has said.
And "we are not talking about pins and needles," but lethal products that can be used in any armed conflict in the world, Zakharova has added at a press briefing in Moscow.
Her words follow reports in several Bulgarian media outlets, including NOVA TV station and mass-circulation newspaper Trud, which say ammunition and firearms manufactured in Bulgaria were found in a warehouse in the Syrian city of Aleppo, which is now under the control of the Syrian government after years of war.
The items discovered were produced under a Soviet license that had been already expired before being handed to Bulgaria.
Since the end of the 1990s Russia has been in talks with Bulgaria to regulate the trade in such arms with third countries, Zakharova has argued, accusing the Bulgarian side of not being "in a rush to conclude" the issue.
The current regime suits "certain representatives of Bulgaria," she has argued.
"We are talking about trade in lethal load which leaves dead civilians in Syria of whose fate the European Union is also concerned."
For Bulgaria, this is "a comfortable position" as the products are sold to a country that does not use Russian equipment and arms. "But whether the product will be re-sold if an issue of no importance to Bulgarian producers," Zakharova has opined.
Her words follow this year's report that Bulgarian-made weapons had been sold to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and from there on re-exported to Syria for use by rebels, possibly falling to the Islamic State (IS) group.
The same developments may have occurred in Iraq, the biggest buyer of Bulgarian arms.
- » US Tanks Start Arriving in Poland
- » Bulgaria's Govt Proposes Vice Admiral Eftimov for Temporary Chief of Defence
- » Bulgaria's FM Dismisses Syria Arms Trade Allegations
- » Prosecution Launches Probe over 'Bulgarian Arms in Aleppo'
- » Russia Criticises USA-Poland Agreement on Purchase of Long-Range Missiles
- » Bulgarian Govt Proposes Chief of Defense's Dismissal