This article originally appeared at Novinite – Bulgarian news agency
The United States is delivering arms to Ukraine via Bulgaria, an article on RIA Novosti reads.
Bulgaria is also “producing ammunition for the Ukrainian army” with US money, and Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic are ready to take part in similar schemes, the text argues further.
Washington is doing so “despite official declarations” and has so far transferred about 200 sniper rifles and 400 assault rifles and 200 grenade launchers, the author, Aleksandr Hrolenko, notes [RU], arguing this “transit country” has been used for not less than 20 years “when necessary to hide traces”.
Reports about the latter role of Bulgaria emerged for the first time in December.
In his words, the aim might be to embroil Russia in a long-term military conflict.
While until recently Bulgaria and Ukraine were both partners and rivals on the international arms market, with Ukraine profiting more, this relationship changed with the developments in the Donbass region in the spring of 2014.
Reports by the press office of Ukraine’s Ukroboronprom concern are cited according to which a contract was signed last year between US arms manufacturer Barrett Firearms and a firm exporting equipment for Ukroboronprom.
Details about the arms, which were designated for the security services and the National Guard of Ukraine, have only recently emerged, RIA writes.
A US company called AMI Global Security, registered in Portland, Oregon, exported equipment at a total price of USD 7.5 M.
The name of a Bulgarian company, Bulcomers KS Ltd (previously referred to as Bulkomers in the December reports about weapons deliveries via Bulgaria) is pointed to as the “official broker” in the deal.
The arms sold to Ukraine were designed for fighting against lightly armored equipment, damaging radars and defusing ammunition and mines from a safe distance.
Part of the equipment might also be transported from Bulgaria to Ukraine in the form of “auto parts”, which the Balkan nation has traditionally been exporting.
An announcement by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov in February 2015, containing a list of items Kiev received as lethal assistance, is cited to confirm the weapons were supplied.
Reference is made to an incident this summer when a US citizen and two Bulgarians died at the Anevo military ground. Reports emerged subsequently the development had occurred during a test of arms manufactured for Syrian opposition forces fighting Islamic State.
(Back then Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski said Bulgaria was not exporting arms to Syria.)
The text also reads that Ukraine turned to the US and other states “more than once” to buy weapons.
Bulgaria denies being a tool for terrorists, of course. But more shady arms stuff has also been aired this week.
Bulgarian Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski assured on Saturday that the country does not export and does not allow for weapons to be exported from its territory to Syria.
His comments come as a response to the information widely circulated during the week by Reuters that the three US contractors, who were injured by the explosion at the military polygon in the Bulgarian village Anevo, had been testing weapons destined for export to the Syrian opposition.
The incident, which took place on June 6 after a rocket-propelled grenade malfunctioned, claimed the life of one of the US citizens, while the other two as well as two Bulgarians were injured. Lukarski asked the US authorities to provide an explanation whether Bulgarian armaments reached Syria as the country was not issuing permits for Syria as an end user, the minister said in an interview for Darik radio.
Lukarski added that Bulgaria exported weapons, including Russian ones to the USA and dismissed the speculations that weapon testing was taking place in Anevo, but rather training of specialists. It did not amount to weapon testing as the rocket-propelled grenades in question were in use since the time of the Warsaw Pact.