On Tuesday, July 4, four Bulgarian parliamentary groups jointly submitted a draft declaration in support of Ukraine’s accession to NATO once the war unleashed by Russia is ended, as reported by the local news agency BGNES. This announcement comes one week before the 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 11-12, and aligns the Bulgarian parliament with the government’s pro-Ukrainian foreign policy.

Kateryna Zaharieva, Chair of the Bulgarian parliament’s Committee on Foreign Policy, said that Bulgaria has always supported the open-door policy of NATO. She acknowledged that for years support for Ukraine in the West had often been only hollow words for fear of angering Putin, but Russia’s brutal full-scale invasion has changed that.

“After the restoration of peace, Ukraine should become a member of NATO. We need a clear perspective on carrying out reforms. Without peace, it is impossible to guarantee the security of Europe and Bulgaria,” said Zaharieva.

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The Bulgarian publication 24 Chasa, citing diplomatic sources, said that President  Volodymyr Zelensky will visit the country upon the invitation of the new Bulgarian government. The details of President Zelensky’s visit have not been specified yet, but it’s likely to take place on Thursday. The exact time of the visit is being kept secret due to security reasons.

In an interview with the Glavkom publication, Bulgaria’s new Minister of Defense, Todor Tagarev, said that his country has already started preparations for the next package of military aid to Ukraine, although the timeframe for its provision is still undetermined.

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“The process has begun. The actual transfer will take some time. We will prioritize the most essential needs of Ukraine at this stage. Flexibility on our part is required, and we are prepared for it,” said Tagarev.

He also mentioned that the aid package primarily consists of ammunition, with additional military equipment included.

Tagarev said that, with the new declaration, Bulgaria can now provide Ukraine with military-technical assistance without requiring a second review by the parliament, making the process simpler and more expeditious.

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Bulgaria also approved a new package of military aid to Ukraine last week, but the specific details haven’t been disclosed.

In November 2022, the Bulgarian parliament supported a resolution on the provision of military and technical assistance to Ukraine.

In January 2023, an investigation by the German publication Die Welt revealed Bulgaria had been providing secret assistance to Ukraine as early as spring 2022. When the Ukrainian army faced shortages of ammunition and fuel, Bulgaria discreetly extended support, becoming one of the two EU countries (alongside Hungary) that unofficially supplied military aid to Ukraine.

Despite opposition from some members of the Bulgarian coalition government, leaders Kiril Petkov and Asen Vasiliev found alternative approaches. They utilized intermediary companies to transport Bulgarian ammunition to Ukraine, employing planes to reach Poland and trucks to access Romania and Hungary.

In an interview with Die Welt, Kiril Petkov said: “Based on our estimates, approximately one-third of the ammunition required by the Ukrainian army during the initial phase of the war originated from Bulgaria.”

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