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For the time being, Bulgaria will not be joining in the push by other EU member states to send ammunition, equipment, and other military aid to Ukraine. While the decision has placed Bulgarian President Rumen Radev under tremendous pressure from opposing parties, he has stood firmly by his decision.
“Bulgaria does not support and is not involved in the joint procurement of ammunition for Ukraine. However, we will support efforts to restore peace. As long as the interim government is in power, Bulgaria will not make its fighter aircraft, anti-aircraft missile systems, tanks and other equipment available to Ukraine,” Radev said.
Bulgaria’s stance places it in the company of Hungary and Austria, whose leaders have also declared they will not support Ukraine through military means.
Hungarian Defense Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky and Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner announced in January in Budapest that neither Hungary nor Austria would offer military assistance to Ukraine in order to “prevent further escalation.” Bulgaria now joins them in its desire to remain neutral regarding the conflict in Ukraine.
While many of its Western allies have accused Hungary of siding with Russia in the war because it won’t send military support to Ukraine, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in December that his government is not in support of Russia but rather simply on the side of its own country.
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“We are pro-Hungarian,” Orbán said. “We are on the side of the Hungarians in the Russian-Ukrainian war,” Orbán added.
Orbán noted that not only is it important to his government that Russia does not pose a threat, but also that continued economic relations with Russia are critical for the entire European economy, not exclusively the Hungarian economy.
“The answer to the question of whether we are on the right or wrong side of history is that we are on the Hungarian side of history. We support and help Ukraine, it is in our interest to preserve a sovereign Ukraine, and it is in our interest that Russia does not pose a security threat to Europe, but it is not in our interest to give up all economic relations with Russia. We are looking at these issues through Hungarian glasses, not through anyone else’s.” Orbán declared.