The Bulgarian parliament voted overwhelmingly to send heavy weapons to Ukraine, ending months of tension and debate over the issue between Balkan political parties and NATO members.
The National Assembly voted 175-49, with one abstention in favor of a motion submitted by four pro-European parties.
According to the decision of the parliament, the government is obliged to provide information within a month on what kind of military assistance can be provided to Ukraine according to the possibilities of Bulgaria. The government is also obliged to support Ukraine’s lawsuit against Russia for human rights violations.
“Bulgaria stands with dignity and assumes its share of responsibility for security and peace in our region. It supports its allies in the EU and NATO,” Democratic Bulgaria commented on Facebook.
Hristo Ivanov, one of its leaders, noted that by providing military assistance to Ukraine, Bulgaria has a unique chance to quickly modernize its army, since the equipment it provides to Ukraine will be replaced by modern weapons from its NATO allies.
Sympathy for Russia
Despite being a member of both NATO and the EU, many Bulgarians have a strong affinity for Russia, which is rooted in history, culture and religion. Bulgaria is also highly dependent on energy supplies from Russia.
The pro-Russian nationalist “Renaissance” Party called on its supporters to gather in front of parliament to protest military aid to Ukraine, saying the aid was “pushing the country into war.”