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In U-Turn, Bulgarian Parliament Votes Overwhelmingly To Send Arms To Ukraine

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 - 12:45 PM

For eight months, Bulgaria has been among a few holdout EU members, Hungary also foremost among them, which have refused to join NATO allies in shipping weapons to Ukraine for the war effort against invading Russian forces. 

But the eastern European country which sits across the Black Sea from Russia has signaled a big U-turn on the arms ban, with lawmakers in parliament voting Thursday to greenlight weapons transfers to Kiev.

The vote was overwhelming in favor: "The 175-49 vote in favor of the measure marked a rare moment of consensus among Bulgaria's deeply divided political spectrum," writes US state-funded RFERL. 

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Members of parliament reportedly argued that sending weapons and parts to Ukraine would provide Bulgaria with the opportunity to modernize its weapons stock. This is to include "heavy guns" sent to Ukraine. 

Politico notes that a political bloc seen as "Russia-friendly" had long blocked efforts to do more to help Ukraine's military. "This comes after the parliament previously blocked such a move amid opposition from the Russia-friendly Socialist party, then a coalition partner in the government," the report says. 

"The newly adopted motion asks the Cabinet to launch talks with NATO allies to replace or boost defense capabilities in exchange for more quickly freeing up its Soviet-era military equipment," Politico adds. 

At this point, the policy shift leaves Hungary as the only NATO country to refrain from supplying arms to Ukraine - something not expected to change anytime soon under Viktor Orbán, also given the country's deep energy dependency on Russia. 

Bulgaria has thus far provided arms only indirectly via third party countries purchasing the weaponry, estimated at over €1 billion worth so far throughout the conflict. 

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