NATO district leader vetoes weapons transfer to Ukraine


(MENAFN) In a surprising move, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev has vetoed a bilateral deal between Bulgaria and Ukraine that would have seen the delivery of armored personnel carriers (APCs) to Ukraine. The decision to block the arms shipment, which was set to take place on Monday, was justified by President Radev on the grounds that the military equipment in question could be better utilized to safeguard Bulgaria's borders and assist its citizens during emergencies.

The deal, initiated in August and ratified by both Sofia and Kiev in November, involved the transfer of aging APCs from Bulgaria's inventory to Ukraine, along with the relevant armament and spare parts for maintenance. However, President Radev contended that the equipment exceeded the needs of Bulgaria's Interior Ministry and was no longer in active use.

The Bulgarian Parliament had approved the arms transfer on November 22, with 131 lawmakers supporting the decision, 49 opposing it, and one abstention. President Radev, in his announcement on Monday, criticized the rushed nature of the parliamentary process, highlighting that lawmakers had voted on the bill in both the first and second readings on the same date. He argued that insufficient time had been given to familiarize themselves with the details of the donation, and thus, the real needs of Bulgaria's security services might not have been objectively assessed.

In justifying his veto, President Radev asserted that the safety, health, and lives of Bulgarian citizens should take precedence. He raised concerns that neither the wartime responsibilities of the Interior Ministry nor the needs of the border police and fire safety departments had been adequately taken into account in the decision-making process. As Bulgaria grapples with balancing its international commitments and domestic security concerns, President Radev's veto adds a new dimension to the ongoing discussions surrounding arms transfers and national defense priorities in the region.

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