July 6, 2023

President Zelenskyy: Bulgaria balks at sharing its weapons stockpile

Volodymyr Zelenskyy: For a successful counteroffensive, it is important for Ukraine to receive weapons and ammunition from partners in time

It is important for Ukraine to receive the necessary weapons and ammunition in time for a successful counteroffensive and further de-occupation of its territories, and it is in the interests of other states to help the Ukrainian army stop Russian aggression before it moves further into Europe. This was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a meeting with representatives of political circles, the public and the media in Bulgaria.

According to the Head of State, during the occupation of Ukrainian lands, the enemy has set up three lines of defense. The Russian army is massively mining the occupied territories to prevent the advance of Ukrainian troops, and a lot of special equipment is needed to overcome these obstacles.

“We have a heavily mined area, and our guys have to go forward. There are neutral states. There are states that think long and hard. There are bureaucratic processes. We are facing a global multifaceted challenge because we are going on foot, clearing mines, and then the military vehicles come. There is a difference between walking and driving,” he said.

According to the President, the Ukrainian Armed Forces need equipment, shells and ammunition to move forward. And from a pragmatic point of view, it is in the interests of other states to help the Ukrainian army, because as long as the war continues in Ukraine, it will not spread to the territory of other countries.

In particular, the Head of State said that during his meeting with President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev today, they had full understanding on issues related to energy and the Ukrainian Peace Formula, however, their views differed on the issue of defense assistance to Ukraine.

“He thinks it is an escalation to provide assistance to Ukraine. I think it’s not, it’s protection,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

The President of Ukraine does not agree with his colleague’s statement that it is inadmissible to reduce the stockpile of weapons of the Bulgarian army in order to help Ukraine, because the weapons of the Bulgarian army alone are not enough to stop Russia.

“I said frankly: if Russia goes further, your weapons will not be enough. Even if there are five times more of them than you have now. Our weapons were also not enough – our partners helped us,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized.

He emphasized that Russia inherited a large number of weapons from the entire Soviet Union: artillery, tanks, and shells. Ukrainian defenders have significantly reduced Russia’s military potential, but at a very high cost. That is why many European countries, including the Baltic states and Poland, provide Ukraine with their weapons stockpiles, as they realize that they do not have enough weapons to repel potential Russian aggression on their own.

“And if some leaders are very pragmatic, then at least from this point of view, one should understand: while Ukrainians are fighting, you should help them. Otherwise, there is a chance that the war will come to you,” the Head of State said.

The President also noted that a clear signal about the prospect of Ukraine’s membership in NATO at the Vilnius Summit would be a very important motivating factor for the Ukrainian people, as was the case with the acquisition of EU candidate status in June 2022.

“We understand that we will be in NATO in a few years or after the war – depending on what the members of the Alliance decide. But it is necessary to give a signal to motivate Ukraine to defend Europe. This is not such a high price for such a war and such suffering,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy is convinced. 

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