Has Bulgaria offered its MiG-29s to Ukraine?

Defense | April 13, 2023, Thursday // 13:26|  views

President Radev (left) and Defense Minister Stoyanov (right)

President Rumen Radev and Defense Minister Dimitar Stoyanov differed slightly in their explanations of whether Sofia offered the Bulgarian MiG-29 aircraft to Ukraine.

Three days ago, the American media giant CNN reported that on February 23, Bulgaria announced that it was ready to donate all its MiG-29 aircraft to Kyiv. The television station referred to one of the Pentagon's secret documents leaked on the Internet.

According to President Radev, our country did not offer our fighter jets to Ukraine at all.

"Not only are we not offering our MiG-29s to Ukraine, but our pilots continue to fly, to be on duty on them, and we are doing everything possible to have them repaired," the head of state said in parliament.

Radev also added:

"If we had offered our MiGs, they would now be in Ukraine along with the MiGs of Poland and Slovakia."

Defense Minister Dimitar Stoyanov chose a rather different wording to comment on the leaked information from PentagonLeaks. He denied that Sofia offered the fighter jets for free.

"Bulgaria has never stated or offered to donate its MiG-29 aircraft to Ukraine," he told journalists.

Stoyanov expressed doubts about the credibility of the published leaked documents and admitted that they may have been edited. The minister emphasized that Bulgarian pilots continue to fly MiG-29 aircraft and perform combat duties with them.

"There is a clause in the Law on Defense and Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria that does not allow another country to take over the protection of our airspace. Article 130 states that the Bulgarian Army, alone or together with a partner, can be on combat duty, but never - someone else instead of the Bulgarian Army," he emphasized. "Therefore, there is a serious legal obstacle to providing the planes, and besides, our country needs them," said the minister.

At the same time, another statement by Stoyanov made it clear that the Bulgarian MiG-29s are the subject of negotiations.

"Talks have been held on the so-called 'triangular deals', related to the possibility of replacing our old armament with another, compatible with that of the NATO member countries, but never in these talks was it proposed that the MiG-29 aircraft be donated," the military minister pointed out.

He recalled that the Ministry of Defense has announced two public procurements - for the purchase of engines and for the repair of MiG-29 aircraft engines. Bids were expected to be submitted for them. Stoyanov expressed hope that another aircraft engine would arrive from Poland by the end of April.

The Defense Committee of the 49th National Assembly will present two offers for the so-called "substitute platforms" for the fighters.

"An inquiry was made to four countries - Israel, the USA, France and Sweden. The two received offers will be presented to the MPs and I really want any of them to be accepted", the minister pointed out and emphasized that Bulgaria is doing everything possible to be able to protect the airspace by itself.

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Tags: MiG-29, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Radev, Stoyanov


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