Sunday 13 August 2023

Ukraine’s Armsbasket: How Bulgaria Arms Ukraine

Bulgaria has emerged as a crucial lifeline for Ukraine, acting as an armsbasket amid the conflict with Russia. The country's defence companies have taken on an unprecedented role, operating around the clock to supply Ukraine with much-needed Soviet-type ammunition to support its resistance against Russia. Paradoxically, even as Bulgarian factories work tirelessly to aid Ukraine, the nation faces an internal contradiction. The pro-Russian President's attribution of blame to Kyiv for Russia's invasion and his vehement opposition to Bulgaria's indirect involvement in the war starkly contrasts with the pro-Ukrainian defence minister's aims of increasing his nation's assistance to Ukraine.
A middle-ground seems to have been reached between the opposing camps within Bulgaria's leadership. This involves the strategic decision to sell the required ammunition and weaponry to NATO member states, which then facilitate their transfer to Ukraine. In this intricate arrangement, Bulgaria manages to navigate a delicate balance, officially upholding its stance of non-military support to Ukraine while covertly contributing to Ukraine's defence efforts. The revenue generated from these transactions serves as a welcome financial boost for the nation, effectively turning the situation into a symbiotic arrangement where Bulgaria assists Ukraine while bolstering its own economic stability.

Despite Bulgaria's President staunchly opposing the provision of weaponry to Ukraine, the country's government is discreetly escalating its support. A testament to this commitment is the recent pledge to supply Ukraine with 100 BTR-60PB APCs. Beyond a mere boost to Ukraine's defensive capabilities, these efforts are underpinned by a strategic objective: Bulgaria aspires to secure access to US weaponry in return. Having missed out on participating in Germany's Ringtausch programme, Bulgaria sees an opportunity to secure US weapons systems through a similar arrangement. By offering Ukraine military assets, many of which stem from the Soviet-era, in exchange for surplus US weaponry, Bulgaria could foster a potential win-win scenario that benefits all parties involved.
The following list attempts to keep track of military equipment delivered or pledged to Ukraine by Bulgaria during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The entries below are sorted by armament category (with a flag denoting the country of origin), and due to the confidential nature of some arms deliveries they can serve only as a lower bound to the total volume delivered. This list is updated as further military support is uncovered.
* Purchases by the Ukrainian or US and EU governments from Bulgarian defence companies.
(Click on the equipment type or vehicle to get a picture)

Jet Aircraft

  • 14 Su-25s* [April 2022] (Purchased from Bulgaria by a NATO member state and delivered to Ukraine)


  • T-72M1s* [Before May 2022] (Purchased by Czechia from Bulgaria and delivered to Ukraine)

Multiple Rocket Launchers

  • 122mm BM-21 Grads* [May or June 2022] (Purchased by Czechia from Bulgaria and delivered to Ukraine)

Self-Propelled Artillery

  • 122mm 2S1 Gvozdikas* [2022] (Purchased by a NATO member state from Bulgaria and delivered to Ukraine)

Towed Artillery

  • 152mm D-20s* [April 2022] (Purchased by Czechia from Bulgaria and delivered to Ukraine)


Armoured Personnel Carriers

Anti-Tank Guided Missiles

Portable Anti-Tank Weaponry


Small Arms



Military Gear

  • 2000 Helmets [2022]
  • 2000 Bulletproof Vests [2022]
  • 5000 Sets Of Winter Clothing [Late 2022]
  • 5000 Pairs Of Winter Boots [Late 2022]
  • 350 Medical Kits [Late 2022]

Miscellaneous Items

Technical Support

  • Repairing Ukrainian Armoured Vehicles And Equipment [Since May 2022]


  • The Deployment Of 50 Bulgarian Army Soldiers To Train Ukrainian Soldiers [2023]
  • The Training Of Of 60 Ukrainian Combat Medics Annually [Since 2023]

Special thanks to War_Noir and Ukraine Weapons Tracker.
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