Bulgaria approved to send Defective S-300 Missiles to Ukraine
With 11 votes "for" and 4 "against", the Defense Committee of the National Assembly adopted a draft decision on providing additional military aid to Ukraine.
It is proposed that Bulgaria donate malfunctioning anti-aircraft guided missiles and ammunition for automatic small arms that are no longer needed.
The initiators of the project are deputies from GERB-SDS, WCC-DB and DPS, and among the signatories are Boyko Borissov, Hristo Ivanov, Kiril Petkov and Delyan Peevski.
Defense Minister Todor Tagarev defended the proposal:
"This is not at all about giving out anti-aircraft missile systems of any kind, and the proposal that I saw - is that we give missiles that are not subject to repair, to provide such missiles to Ukraine, it is not a question of providing anti-aircraft missile complexes," said Tagarev.
And more: "Such a decision and the provision of defective missiles to another country will in no way harm the combat capability and combat readiness of the Bulgarian Army. In any way, we cannot use them, attempts have been made to order repairs, they have all been unsuccessful. So far, we haven't found any, so the experts convince me that there is no way these missiles can be repaired."
The opposition reacted sharply. According to them, providing the missiles is a step towards the complete deprivation of the country's anti-aircraft missile systems.
The Bulgarian Socialist Party again demanded the resignation of Defense Minister Todor Tagarev. Borislav Gutsanov stated:
“The fact is that you are encroaching on Bulgaria's last anti-aircraft missile systems. What should we talk about more? Are you the defense minister of Bulgaria or Ukraine? The only thing you can do is resign and there is nothing more to talk about” Gutsanov stated.
"Vazrazhdane" recommended that the armament be repaired and used in Bulgaria. Nikolay Drenchev commented:
"We had anti-aircraft missile systems, if we now start giving them away, if we start decommissioning them for the reason that they are already obsolete - not even morally, but purely technically obsolete, I really think this is a murderous direction in which we are pushing our army, and we are pushing it for political reasons".
Alexander Valchev from “There Is Such a People” explained that their party approves the provision of ammunition, but not anti-aircraft missiles:
"From TISP, we have always been in solidarity with Ukraine, but we are very disturbed by point one of the decision - the provision of the missiles for the S-300, because as far as we are aware, this is, one might say, the last shield , which Bulgaria can count on, in case something happens".
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Todor Tagarev said that he expects the deputies to approve the investment expenditure project of more than 1.3 billion dollars for the modernization of the Ground Forces. The project has already been approved by the Council of Ministers. It is about the purchase of combat equipment to equip three battalion combat groups of a mechanized brigade. Tagarev called for this to be done before the deputies go on vacation because of the local elections.
According to the Investment Expenditure Project adopted by the Council of Ministers, the start of deliveries of combat vehicles should be the third quarter of 2025. The end - the first quarter of 2028. It is written in the project that the new machines will cost us a little over 2.5 billion leva.
The proposal is to pay for the machines over a five-year installment period - as happened with the financing of the second batch of eight F-16 fighter jets. Already this year, a payment of about 479 million leva is planned.
The biggest installments are in 2024 and 2025 - 600 million leva each. The project, as an industrial cooperation, envisages assembly of the machines in Bulgaria, maintenance and repair of the machines in the country.
And the Chief of Defense, Admiral Emil Eftimov, announced that the Bulgarian Army has several defective missiles from the S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems available. He did not specify their number, but said that it is better not to store them because they pose a danger to the lives of the personnel when they are stored.
According to Admiral Eftimov, there are evidentiary documents that these defective missiles cannot be repaired in Bulgaria.
"They are not many, they are a few pieces, there is information about this thing, I have reported it. It is state property. If the state decides to use them to have some state benefit. For us it is better not to store them. Sometimes it's dangerous, we keep them in different warehouses. We don't want to endanger the lives of personnel.
We cannot repair them. We have evidence, a document, that we cannot repair them".
Admiral Eftimov announced that the Bulgarian Army has no problem providing the air defense of the country:
"We have projects to acquire, to modernize air defense systems, but I can state that what we have in service in the Bulgarian army, with few exceptions, is in working order and we can fulfill our constitutional obligations".
Yesterday at the "Novo Selo" training ground, Admiral Eftimov and the commander of the NATO joint command in Naples, Admiral Stuart Munsch, observed demonstrations of the final stage of the training of the multinational battle group in Bulgaria with the framework country Italy - "Noble Blueprint -2023".
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