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Ukraine Will Get Non-Operational Yet Repairable MANPADS, Missiles and Personnel Training From Bulgaria

Missiles to the S-300 system could be included in the new package of aid from Bulgaria to Ukraine / Photo credit: Bulgarian Air Force
Missiles to the S-300 system could be included in the new package of aid from Bulgaria to Ukraine / Photo credit: Bulgarian Air Force
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After months of hesitation, debate and even covert supplies, Bulgaria steps up with some new decisions regarding aid for Ukraine

Bulgaria has adopted multiple decisions aimed at helping Ukrainian forces in repelling the russian invasion. Sofia will provide weapons and training for the Ukrainian military personnel, Bulgarian media reported yesterday, December 7th.

As reported by Radio Bulgaria, after "heated debates" in the defense committee, in the end, a decision was made to transfer to Ukraine "unserviceable and obsolete" anti-aircraft missile systems.

Read more: ​In Bulgaria, Decision to Freeze Supply of BTR-60 APC to Ukraine was Called a "Shame" But There's Hope to Overcome It

What's interesting is that the Bulgarian edition of this article specifies them as specifically man-portable air defense missile systems (MANPADS) and "anti-aircraft missiles of various types."

The missiles are defective and more than 30 years old, but Ukraine can use them for spare parts, Chairman of the Bulgarian Parliament's Defense Committee, Hristo Gadjev said after the vote in the parliament, as quoted by RFE/RL.

On a reminder from Defense Express, this September Bulgaria greenlighted the transfer of missiles for the S-300 air defense system to Ukraine. This was also a hard-won decision, and it concerned outdated missiles that had to be repaired before they could be used to protect the skies.

According to Military Balance 2023, Bulgaria has Strela-2 MANPADS, as well as Osa, S-125M, and Kub self-propelled SAM systems.

Illustrative photo: S-125 SAM missiles of the Ukrainian Air Force
Illustrative photo: S-125 SAM missiles of the Ukrainian Air Force / Photo credit: Serhii Naiev, Commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

In addition to the air defense missiles, Bulgaria promised to help in training four infantry/mechanized companies, a total of 160 soldiers, and assist in F-16 pilots' training. For that, Sofia issued a special permit for the use of the country's airspace.

Earlier this week, Defense Express reported Bulgaria's President had vetoed the supply of BTR-60 armored vehicles to Ukraine. However, the parliament disagreed and intends to overcome the veto soon.

On the other hand, despite sending defunct equipment with such a struggle, Bulgaria is known to have provided a considerable amount of military aid to Ukraine, especially in the early weeks of the russian military invasion. Those supplies were unannounced and covert, backed by the previous government before the early parliamentary elections in August 2022.

Soviet-standard ammunition and diesel fuel supplied back then played an important role in ensuring Ukraine's survival at the onset of the big war.

Bulgarian BTR-60
Bulgarian BTR-60 / Illustrative photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense
Read more: ​Bulgaria Transfers S-300 Missiles to Ukraine, But There Are Nuances There