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Bulgaria to deliver first BTR-60PB Armored Personnel Carriers to Ukraine.

| Defense News Army 2024

The first deliveries of Bulgarian BTR-60 PB armored personnel carriers (APCs), a local version of the Russian BTR-60, to Ukraine, are expected in the coming days, according to an announcement by Bulgarian Defense Minister Todor Tagarev in early February 2024. This information comes from an interview with the BTV channel, where the minister specified that the first shipments had already left Bulgaria some time ago.
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BTR-60 PB Armored Personnel Carrier (Picture source: Wikimedia)

Bulgaria will initiate the process of delivering 100 APCs, specifically BTR-60 models, to Ukraine. This decision followed a period of political debate in Bulgaria, culminating in the overturning of a veto by President Rumen Radev, who had opposed the transfer. The BTR-60s, described as being in far from perfect condition, were previously used by Bulgaria's internal forces. Despite their age and condition, these vehicles are considered valuable to Ukraine, which faces an acute need for military equipment amid ongoing conflict. The Ukrainian defense industry is expected to upgrade these APCs to more effectively serve various operational needs.

A member of the EU and NATO but historically and culturally close to Moscow, Bulgaria refused for months to provide any military aid to Ukraine before changing course in June, following the lead of a new pro-European government. The context of this donation dates back to the Bulgarian Parliament's vote on November 3, 2022, which approved military aid to Ukraine, promising to clarify the details the following month. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Bulgaria has contributed to the Ukrainian war effort by sending an undisclosed number of T-72M1 tanks, delivered via the Czech Republic, as well as 152mm and 155mm artillery shells. The latter were purchased by the United States from Bulgaria and began to be delivered in March 2023.

The provision of these vehicles to Ukraine marks a significant shift in Bulgaria's stance, demonstrating its support for Ukraine amidst the ongoing conflict. This also represents a strategic engagement from Bulgaria, potentially opening avenues to receive military aid or equipment in return from allies such as the United States.

Officially, the delay in the delivery of the APCs would be attributed to the high logistical costs associated with transporting the vehicles to Ukraine. It appears that the Bulgarian government is actively seeking financial assistance for the transport costs, in the hope that NATO or other allies of Ukraine might contribute to facilitating this crucial military aid. In addition to the lack of political will, the delay underscores the logistical and financial challenges that nations encounter when supporting Ukraine with military equipment.


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