Media reports Ukraine army assistance postponed over NATO funding row


(MENAFN) The delivery of 100 Soviet-era BTR-60 armored personnel carriers pledged by Bulgaria to Ukraine is reportedly facing delays due to a funding dispute with NATO, according to Euractiv's report on Tuesday. While the Bulgarian parliament authorized the transfer of the vehicles last November, Defense Minister Todor Tagarev revealed that the delay stems from Sofia's request for NATO to cover the transportation costs.

Minister Tagarev, in a social media post on Monday, acknowledged the complexity of the operation, citing the need for large, guarded trains to transport the armored personnel carriers.

He assured that foreign money would partially cover the shipping costs, emphasizing ongoing efforts to coordinate with various government departments and foreign partners to expedite the dispatch within the next month.

Critics within the Bulgarian parliament, as cited by Euractiv, have accused Tagarev of mismanagement, asserting that the ministry is not operating optimally under the current leadership. MP Ivaylo Mirchev highlighted these concerns, attributing the delays to alleged inefficiencies in the defense ministry's approach.

In early February, Tagarev showcased the loading of BTR-60s onto road transport platforms, revealing that the Defense and Interior Ministries had been gathering the vehicles across the country. The logistical process took three weeks, according to the latest update from the defense minister.

The arms deal between Bulgaria and Ukraine was initially struck in August, but Bulgarian President Rumen Radev vetoed it in December, citing concerns that the transfer was ill-conceived and against national interests. Despite Radev's reservations, the parliamentary majority overruled the veto, paving the way for the arms deal to proceed. As the funding dispute persists, the delay in the delivery of military aid highlights the intricacies and challenges in coordinating international assistance in the context of geopolitical tensions.

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