Bulgarian President Radev Vetoes Armored Vehicle Donation to Ukraine, Prioritizes National Security
Bulgarian President Rumen Radev took a decisive stance today, vetoing the agreement for the provision of armored transport vehicles to Ukraine. The ratified deal, aiming to donate equipment from Bulgaria's Interior Ministry to Ukraine's Ministry of Defence, faced a significant setback as the President returned it to Parliament for further discussion.
In his rationale behind the veto, President Radev highlighted a crucial concern. He emphasized that the parliamentarians lacked a comprehensive understanding of the specificities of the donation, hindering their ability to thoroughly evaluate the necessity of the provided equipment.
A notable aspect of Radev's argument was the apparent oversight of the equipment's potential utility within Bulgaria itself. He pointed out that the armored transport vehicles, earmarked for Ukraine, could play a pivotal role in safeguarding Bulgaria's borders and aiding citizens during emergencies and disasters in remote areas. The President underscored the importance of prioritizing the safety and well-being of Bulgarian citizens.
Citing recent instances like the floods in Karlovo and Tsarevo, where the Interior Ministry had relied on the assistance of the Bulgarian Army, Radev emphasized the increasing need for reinforcement rather than reduction in such support.
The agreement for the provision of armored transport equipment, signed in August 2023 in Sofia and later in Kyiv in November, had received approval in the National Assembly. However, the President's veto has now necessitated further deliberation on the matter.
During the ratification process, differing opinions were evident among MPs, with divisions notably surfacing among different political groups. Despite the majority approval, certain parliamentary factions expressed reservations or opposition to the donation.
The report from the parliamentary Defence Committee outlined that the agreement involved providing Ukraine with armored transport equipment and spare parts, no longer in use for Bulgaria's Interior Ministry.
It will be rejected
Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov predicts that the majority in the parliament will reject the veto imposed by President Rumen Radev on the Agreement on the provision of armored transport equipment to Ukraine.
"This veto will be overcome, so I don't see anything to comment on," the Prime Minister said succinctly.
This morning, the head of state returned the Agreement with Kyiv to the National Assembly for a new discussion. It envisages that Bulgaria will provide 100 armored personnel carriers from the armament of the Ministry of Internal Affairs free of charge.
According to the government, they are no longer necessary. According to the president, the APCs can be used to guard the border or in disasters and accidents.
"President Rumen Radev's decision to veto the supply of armored vehicles to Ukraine can be summed up in just one word - shame!" This was stated by Delyan Peevski, chairman of the parliamentary group of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS).
"After this decision, it is even more categorically clear how important it is for Bulgaria to have a Euro-Atlantic parliamentary majority and a Euro-Atlantic government supported by it. Because anything else risks our country being taken down another, non-European and dangerous path - towards Moscow, towards Putin, where pro-Russian politicians want to divert it," Peevski believes.
According to the chairman of the DPS PG, the National Assembly must overcome the president's veto this week.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mariya Gabriel expressed regret for the imposed presidential veto over the agreement on the free provision of armored combat equipment to Ukraine.
She pointed out that the need for the 100 APCs from the Ministry of Interior's armaments had disappeared during the caretaker government.
"The decision was coordinated with the necessary structures to make Bulgaria's position clear. If this debate leads to once again reassuring the citizens of the lost necessity and once again declaring solidarity with Ukraine, it is only a matter of time before the National Assembly does its job. Against the background of the previous debates, I do not expect a change in the position of the National Assembly", says Gabriel's position.
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After more than three months of deliberation and logistical challenges, the Bulgarian parliament's decision to donate armored vehicles to Ukraine is finally seeing fruition as the equipment is loaded onto a train bound for Kyiv
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