Bulgaria’s President: It is Unacceptable to See the Army not as Guarantor of Security but as a Donor to Ukraine
“It is unacceptable that a large number of political parties in our country see the Bulgarian Army not as a guarantor of the country's security, but as a donor to the armed forces of Ukraine.” This was stated by President Rumen Radev after getting acquainted with the analysis of the state and preparation of the Armed Forces in 2022.
"This mantra that is being planted that, you see, giving the old Russian weaponry will immediately solve the problems of modernization and the old Russian weaponry is unsustainable. The window is now closed, but the possible amount that we would get is nothing against the background of the entire need to rearm the Bulgarian Army. Some countries from these triangular deals received 15 tanks - what are 15 tanks against the background of the need for new armaments. Second - it is a question of replacing old equipment with old equipment of another type. Third - where there is no possibility for exchange, we have to provide the currently existing platforms and buy new ones. We have to pay for them, and that's clear," he stressed.
Radev called on the politicians who criticize that Bulgaria did not take advantage of the opportunity to provide its old weapons to Ukraine in exchange for new ones according to NATO standards, to answer specifically what such a deal would mean.
"Everyone who insists that this tradeoffconcept will solve the problems, please answer when and what kits we would get in return, how we would maintain the personnel and when new such platforms can be provided. How much will it cost us and do we have the money to do it afford it? That is why I clash with their positions, because I, as commander-in-chief, am obliged to insist that the defense potential is not weakened, but preserved and developed," Radev pointed out.
The analysis of our armaments in 2022 again shows shortage of resources, delayed modernization, shortage of people and overburdened personnel who with great effort and dedication continue to perform their duties and generate capacity. According to Radev, the misunderstanding on the part of the political class of the need to modernize our armed forces is the main problem. He gave an example of the fact that the 48th National Assembly did not consider the investment proposal of the Ministry of Defense for the modernization of the Bulgarian Army.
"The real modernization of the Bulgarian army will begin only when a new National Assembly and a regular government take up this task. But this requires a lot of effort and time, and we are already late," said the president.
The Minister of Defense Dimitar Stoyanov commented that we are late for the possible conclusion of the so-called "triangular deals" for the provision of weapons to Ukraine, and this decision should have been taken by a regular government.
"With such deals, there is no real modernization, only compatibility. We give Soviet weapons and get old Western ones. Hence the problem with logistics and training," Stoyanov pointed out.
The Chief of Defense Admiral Emil Eftimov said that Bulgarian citizens should feel protected. At the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, a number of measures were taken, such as the NATO multinational battle group.
According to him, the situation shows that the modernization of the army has no alternative. He appeals to the political class that the next parliament urgently adopt an investment program submitted by the MoD. Evtimov also pointed out that the problems with understaffing in the army continue. Measures are being taken to increase the social package.
Defense Minister Dimitar Stoyanov stated that the positives are the implementation of a number of important missions, such as the multinational battle group, a number of army exercises. He also emphasized the participation of the army in helping the population during disasters, fires and guarding the border.
The minister reported on the donor operations and assistance after the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. According to him, a restructuring of the forces is necessary, and the most important project is the modernization of the ground forces.
The head of state was welcomed by the honor guard.
Later today, President Rumen Radev will participate in the meeting of the B9 countries, which will take place in Warsaw. The political dialogue format unites NATO member countries Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, the press office of the head of state announced.
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