In a benevolent gesture aimed at enhancing Ukraine’s military capabilities, Bulgaria has committed to supplying 100 armored personnel carriers. This philanthropic initiative was officially sanctioned by the Bulgarian parliament at the conclusion of 2023. However, it has come to light that Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is actively seeking financial support for this undertaking.

The responsibility now rests on the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense to identify a NATO ally or a supporter of Ukraine willing to bear the financial burdens associated with the transportation of the gifted armored personnel carriers. This announcement was made by Bulgarian Defense Minister Todor Tagarev during a parliamentary defense committee meeting on January 17, as reported by the Bulgarian National Radio [BNR].

Tagarev emphasized the logistics surrounding the loading and transportation of the armored personnel carriers have been addressed, describing the operation as complex and undoubtedly significant in cost. While expressing confidence in their budget’s ability to withstand the expense, he expressed hope that an ally might view this as a commendable initiative and step forward to cover the transport costs. In the absence of such assistance, alternative funding options will be explored, with a commitment to seeking support if the need arises.

The Timeline

The Bulgarian National Assembly historically marked November 22nd by ratifying an intergovernmental agreement with Kyiv, facilitating the shipment of 100 decommissioned armored personnel carriers [APCs] to Ukraine by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

A closer look reveals that the genesis of this deal traces back to July of the previous year. Within a month, it was formally documented in Sofia and concluded in Ukraine on November 13. Notably, any agreement involving military and technical cooperation requires additional formal approval from the Bulgarian Parliament.

An intriguing aspect of this agreement is its early implementation even before official approval. This nuance was acknowledged during the signing ceremony, where Bulgaria had previously hinted at the APCs being en route to Ukraine between September and October.

The APCs, dormant in Bulgaria’s Ministry of Internal Affairs inventory since the 1980s, are now in motion. Notably, this marks a significant departure from the conventional practice, as Sofia is directly dispatching armored equipment to Kyiv, bypassing the usual intermediaries.

In the initial days of December 2023, the initiative to send 100 Armored Personnel Carriers [APCs] to Ukraine faced a temporary suspension. The pause was instigated by the actions of the Bulgarian President, Rumen Radev, who called for a renewed parliamentary discussion regarding the ratification of the legal framework allowing Bulgaria to furnish Ukraine with armored transport equipment without cost.

The authority vested in the president, as outlined in Article 101 of the Bulgarian Constitution, empowers him to send back any enacted law or specific provisions of the law to the parliament for reevaluation and a subsequent vote. This process is to be carried out within a stipulated 15-day timeframe.