In a revealing interview on mediapool.bg on Monday, Hristo Gadjev, Chairman of the Defense Committee of the Bulgarian National Assembly, admitted to what many suspected was the principal motive behind Bulgaria’s lending military support to Ukraine. The chair of the defense committee explained that by providing military equipment to Ukraine, Bulgaria would be able to obtain newer equipment from Western allies to modernize its own military. Gadjev is an MP for the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria Party (GERB), the largest party in the Bulgarian Parliament.
“Bulgaria has been offered mechanisms and opportunities for the provision of replacement capabilities, as well as for the acquisition of new capabilities from our allies. Of course, they are tied to our subsequent support to Ukraine.,” Gadjev explained to MediaPool. “The assistance already provided has opened the doors to real possibilities of replacing old Soviet equipment with modern and NATO-compatible equipment, and this is quite real. At the end of the year, the Czech Republic received the first new Leopard 2 tanks from Germany in exchange for T-72s provided to Ukraine.”
Gadjev also decried a recent amendment to the agreement between the Ukrainian and the Bulgarian defense ministries, proposed in Parliament, requiring that any new consignments of military assistance be approved by the legislature. Revealing a contempt for the democratic process, Gadjev complained that this would definitely result in delays and give a platform to Members of Parliament who support the Russian position to express their views on the floor of the Assembly. “Such actions will tire the Bulgarian public of the subject and will erode support for the victim in the conflict,” he added.
As previously reported by The Balkan, providing military support for Ukraine is very unpopular with the Bulgarian public. Only 30% of Bulgarians approve of financing the purchase and supply of military equipment to Ukraine. Despite this, the government in Sofia is engaged in a scheme to upgrade its outdated Soviet-era military equipment while stifling opposing viewpoints.