Bulgaria’s Dual-Use Goods Route to Russia and Azerbaijan Raises Red Flags Amid Sanctions Scrutiny

Politics | December 4, 2023, Monday // 17:38
Bulgaria: Bulgaria’s Dual-Use Goods Route to Russia and Azerbaijan Raises Red Flags Amid Sanctions Scrutiny

The Finance Minister, Asen Vassilev, disclosed a substantial upsurge in the import-export activities of dual-use goods to Azerbaijan and Russia, routed through Bulgaria. Addressing the issue after discussions with Prime Minister Denkov and European Commissioner Mareid McGuinness on Financial Stability, Vassilev underscored forthcoming measures to cease these channels. The focal point of their impending visit to the 'Captain Andreevo' border checkpoint aims to scrutinize this soaring flow, a trend involving goods departing or arriving in European nations.

Vassilev noted approximately 20,000 European companies circumventing sanctions imposed against Russia using legitimate customs documents. Collaborating with the European Commission, they intend to establish mechanisms ensuring the full enforcement of the 12th package of sanctions.

Prime Minister Denkov emphasized the involvement of electronic components in these transactions. Responding to allegations regarding Bulgarian company "Lukoil's" purported evasion of Russian sanctions, Denkov highlighted that thorough examinations found no violations of Bulgarian laws, European regulations, or customs provisions by Lukoil Neftohim.

Addressing the detection of channels facilitating the trafficking of dual-use goods to Russia through Bulgaria, European Commissioner McGuinness, responsible for sanctions implementation, articulated the criticality of vigilance amidst stringent sanctions. Stressing collaboration with Member States, she emphasized the need to prevent goods circumventing sanctions, potentially reaching conflict zones.

McGuinness applauded Bulgaria's decision to revoke its derogation for processing Russian oil earlier, underscoring Bulgaria's commitment to adhere to Russian sanctions. She affirmed ongoing investigations into LukoilNeftohim's compliance with sanctions, highlighting the collaborative exchange between EU and Bulgarian authorities.

The Commissioner's office remains in close contact with Bulgarian counterparts to validate claims against an oil company and appreciates Bulgaria's intent to implement stringent measures against Russia.

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Tags: Bulgaria, sanctions, Dual-Use Goods, border

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