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Bulgaria – one of biggest indirect arms suppliers to Ukraine

While Bulgaria and Hungary are the only NATO and EU countries that officially refuse to send military aid to Ukraine, Bulgaria was revealed to be one of the biggest indirect suppliers to the war-torn country, selling a record amount of weapons since the start of the war, Report informs referring to Euractiv.

Experts estimate that Bulgaria has so far supplied at least €1 billion of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine via brokers.

The Bulgarian arms business has always profited well from conflicts in areas that traditionally used Soviet weapons systems. The country’s arms enterprises produce ammunition for Soviet weapons and other products based on them, which in most cases, are of great quality and have higher prices on international markets.

Alexander Mihailov, former executive director of the state company “Kintex”, through which the country’s arms exports pass, confirmed the record Bulgarian exports this year.

In comparison, Mihailov said that, from the start of the Ukraine war until today, the arms export permits added up to over €2 billion. “So until now, we have had 100% growth compared to the peak years for the business. This year may end at 150% or even 200% sales growth compared to the strongest years of the military-industrial complex, and this generates serious income in the Bulgarian economy and the state budget in times of crisis,” Mihailov said.

Currently, Bulgarian arms manufacturers and dealers sell their products mainly in Poland and Romania, where the arms are then re-exported to Ukraine.

“What is clear is that export volumes to Poland have increased significantly,” said the former head of Kintex Mihailov, adding that the Rzeszów Airport in Poland, which is about 70 km from the Ukrainian border, is the central logistics hub.

“It is no coincidence that the US installed Patriot air defense systems at this airport. For the first 120 days of the war in Ukraine, there were 60 cargo flights with weapons from Bulgarian airports to Rzeszow. The average cargo capacity is about 70-80 tons of cargo per plane,” he added.

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