Bulgaria’s Defense Minister asked Parliament to approve the Purchase of Stryker vehicles before the Local ElectionsDefense | October 6, 2023, Friday // 11:50| views
Defense Minister Todor Tagarev called on the National Assembly to approve the purchase of Stryker armored personnel carriers before the local elections. He commented that otherwise there are risks that the deadlines will be missed.
"We hope that the project for new armored vehicles will pass the parliament, as it is very important that the contract is concluded and operational this year. If we wait for the MPs to return after the elections and then start the discussions in the plenary hall, there is a risk that we will not succeed with the procedures, as there has to be a signing of a treaty and it has to re-enter for ratification as an interstate treaty, which will take time," he said Friday morning on bTV.
He confirmed that payments for the new armored vehicles for the Ground Forces, worth a total of 1.376 billion dollars without VAT, are foreseen both in this year's budget and in the estimated macro framework for the next three years.
This week, the project received support in both the defense committee and the budget and finance committee. The discussions in the plenary hall are coming up, where a final decision on the matter has to be taken.
Already in the second half of 2025, the first machines are expected, and the last - in the first quarter of 2028. Most of the machines will arrive in 2026 and 2027, the Minister of Defense also said.
Tagarev's appeal immediately received comments from both Boyko Borissov and Delyan Peevski, the two spokesmen of GERB and DPS in the unofficial ruling coalition.
Borissov announced that he was outraged and that the minister's statement did him no honor.
"At the moment, everything that happened in the defense sector happened in the parliament with our signatures. We have a very clear schedule for the Strykers - December to complete the procedure. To make such statements - it does him no honor," he commented.
The other prominent "defender of parliamentarian" - Peevski - was also outraged.
"If Tagarev demands something, then he should immediately resign from the Bulgarian parliament today. He cannot demand anything from the National Assembly, he can submit a suggestion and the committees will consider it. This is the legal order, ministers cannot demand anything on any occasion. I can ask for his resignation because I personally voted for this cabinet and I can ask for it on behalf of our parliamentary group," he said shortly after Borissov.
Tagarev explained that there are requests from Ukraine for more military assistance from Bulgaria.
"The S-300 missiles that we decided to give to Ukraine are few in number. However, their exact number is classified information. It is a case of malfunctioning missiles that the Bulgarian army has no way of using or repairing, but the Ukrainian army has an option for them. If they are used out of order, they can be dangerous to the military that launches them," he reiterated.
He also emphasized that this will not affect the state of the Bulgarian armed forces.
"The number of missiles depends on the conclusion of an inspection, which is done every year and establishes what is the condition of all the armaments and equipment of our army," the Minister of Defense also said.
He clarified that Bulgaria can send Ukraine 100 armored personnel carriers from the former internal troops division. "There is also a need for modern equipment, but quantities are also needed," added the Minister of Defense.
"Russia is bringing out weapons from the 1960s, but they also kill," he added.
According to Tagarev, there are no grounds for the vote of no confidence in the Denkov-Gabriel cabinet requested yesterday:
"This is the pre-election situation in which opposition parties are trying to extract some dividends."
He added that it is not possible to stop the projects under the Recovery and Sustainability Plan, as the country expects billions from them, and defined the miners' and energy workers' protest as political.
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