December 16, 2022
Kristian Vigenin, MP of Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP):
“[…] Because we believe that there are no reasons, objectively, that these lists of armaments and ammunition, which we as a country are about to provide to Ukraine, should be classified. […] Why do the rest of the countries that support Ukraine military publicize what they provide? We hide it not only from the Bulgarian citizens, but we hide it from ourselves.”
Rumen Gechev, MP of BSP:
“Why is the Bulgarian parliament the only one of the NATO member countries that did not discuss and approve the list? […] Here is the US link with the full list of weapons delivered to Ukraine with the amounts of the weapons, with the specific missiles, howitzers and more. […] Why, Mr. Vigenin, are we the only country in the world and in NATO that hides the special Bulgarian weapons after all of NATO publishes them? […] Don’t you see that Reuters announces the decisions of the American Congress and the Senate. Every button exported from the US to Ukraine is performed with a check and approval by the US Congress and Senate.”
Pursuant to the decision of the National Assembly of November 3, 2022, at the beginning of December 2022, the Ministry of Defense submitted to the Parliament a proposal to provide military and military-technical support to Ukraine. On December 9, 2022, the first vote in parliament on the bill will take place.
The list of the volume and type of military and military-technical assistance was compiled after consultations between the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense and the Ukrainian side, which is included in a classified annex to the draft decision. Deputies have access to the list in the secret registry of the Bulgarian Parliament – both before and after the vote, but they do not have the right to make it public.
According to the caretaker Minister of Defense Dimitar Stoyanov, the reason this information is secret is that it is part of a “report that contains the overall information on the armament in the Bulgarian army”.
“For sure, not all countries provide information or, if they do provide information, it is partially provided, but not complete”, said Minister Stoyanov from the rostrum of the National Assembly. He added that the Ministry of Defense has the full information of who provided what, which has not been published in the media.
Without specifying the details of what military-technical equipment will be sent to Ukraine, in an interview for NOVA on December 9, Dimitar Stoyanov says that Bulgaria will provide neither S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, nor MiG-29 and Su-25. On December 2, Economy Minister Nikola Stoyanov told journalists that Bulgaria would provide Ukraine with small arms and some ammunition.
At a briefing on December 23, the Ministry of Defense announced that they would propose a change to the contract concluded with Ukraine, which would allow all future changes and additions to the Agreement on the provision of military assistance to the Ukrainian side to be considered and discussed in the National Assembly.
The proposal was discussed in the Council of Ministers on December 29, and a draft of the Additional Agreement between the Ministries of Defense of Bulgaria and Ukraine was approved. With this act, the caretaker government proposed that the parliament take the decisions and ratify any changes in the list of armaments, for which additional agreements will be concluded. The voted change was shared with the Ukrainian side, which expressed its agreement.
Discussion and voting in the National Assembly is also pending. Bulgarian MPs can read the planned list of weapons from the Ministry of Defense before voting on the draft law to ratify the agreement. If the meeting of the MPs is open, the list could not be discussed as it is secret, but there is a possibility of a closed meeting where all the details can be discussed.
How is it in the US?
The US is Ukraine’s largest donor, according to the latest data from the Kiel Institute for The World Economy, which compiles information on humanitarian, financial and military aid provided to a total of 40 countries. To date, the US has aided Ukraine with 47.8 billion euros, of which 22.8 billion euros are in the form of military aid.
The US has a variety of mechanisms for making donations. One of those that the Biden administration has used to assist Ukraine militarily in recent months is the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA). The president can use this emergency mechanism to send aid more quickly without a vote in Congress, but only with advance notice. Through the usage of PDA, the intended aid package can be sent within hours.
Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Biden administration has used this mechanism a total of 24 times (as of December 7, 2022) at a total cost of over 11 billion USD. That means the aid was granted without a vote in Congress.
It is true that the US openly shares what weapons it donates to Ukraine. The most recently updated list is as of December 9 and is available on the State Department website.
How is it in other NATO member countries?
Countries that send military aid to Ukraine have different practices in approving and publicly announcing it. Some provide detailed lists, others report only the most general information about the type of weapon. Information about donations can be found on the website of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.
According to the report of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, publicly announced data are not comprehensive and systematic. For example, the practice of some countries providing Ukraine with Soviet-style weaponry, in exchange for receiving new Western weapons, in most cases remains outside these statistics. As an example, the agreements for such an exchange of weapons between the USA and Slovakia, Germany and Slovenia, Germany and Greece, the UK and Poland are indicated. Also, while many countries have publicly announced a commitment to provide a particular type of weapon, they have not subsequently disclosed whether aid has already been sent.
The check shows that the practice in most countries is for the Ministry of Defense to make a proposal to the Council of Ministers for the allocation of a new aid package in a certain amount, which is subsequently discussed by the Parliament in the form of a budget update.
For 2023, most countries have budgeted in advance a certain amount that will be provided to Ukraine in the form of military aid. For example, the government of the Netherlands approved 2.5 billion euros in military aid to Ukraine in the country’s budget for this year.
The UK is the second largest donor of military aid to Ukraine after the US. In total, donations to Ukraine from the British side amount to more than 7 billion euros, of which more than 4.1 billion are military aid. On December 19, 2022, British PM Rishi Sunak announced a new military aid package for Ukraine worth 304 million USD. The House of Commons in the British Parliament issues a bulletin summarizing military aid to Ukraine from the UK and other countries. Information on most of the equipment provided by the UK is publicly available. The island nation is known to have sent short and long-range missiles, anti-tank weapons, armored fighting vehicles, drones, air defense systems and more to Ukraine.
Germany has donated military equipment to Ukraine worth more than 2.3 billion euros until November 20, 2022. The full list of completed and planned donations is available on the official government website.
Italy is among the European countries with the largest contribution in donations to Ukraine. According to data from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, until November 20, 2022, Italy has donated military aid to Ukraine for more than 300 million euros. Not all types of weapons and their numbers are officially reported by the Italian government. Meanwhile, earlier in December, the Italian Senate approved the extension of military support to Ukraine until December 31, 2023. Until then, the government of Giorgia Meloni will be able to send military aid to Ukraine without the need for a further vote in the Senate.
In a letter dated December 16, 2022 to the Dutch Parlament, Kajsa Ollongren – the Minister of Defense of the Netherlands, informed the MPs that the military aid sent to Ukraine so far amounts to 987 million euros. The official website of the Dutch Ministry of Defense regularly publishes announcements of each new military aid package and provides general information about the type of weapons being sent.
Spain is among the Western countries with the least contribution in terms of military aid provided to Ukraine. According to data from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, until November 20, 2022, military aid from Spain to Ukraine amounts to 81 million euros. Spain’s defense ministry has not released details on the type and number of weapons being sent for “security reasons”.
According to data on the official Canadian government website, as of February 2022, the country has provided over 1 billion USD in military aid to Ukraine. On the same webpage, a table chronologically presents the allocation of individual military aid packages, including descriptions of the donated equipment and similar.
Military aid from France to Ukraine amounts to more than 470 million euros from the start of the war until November 20, 2022. However, the exact number and type of weapons sent have not been disclosed.
According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, by November 20, 2022, Croatia had provided military aid to Ukraine worth 16 million euros. Unofficially, Croatia is reported to have sent 15 M-46 field guns and plans to donate old Mi-8 helicopters. There is no detailed and official information about the Croatian donations.
Albania has been sending weapons to Ukraine, according to an article by the Albanian fact-checking platform Faktoje. Representatives of the State Control Authority for the export of military goods in Tirana confirm to Faktoje that Albania has provided military assistance to the Ukrainian side, but without giving further details about the armament provided.
It cannot be said that Bulgaria is the only country in NATO or among the countries that send military aid to Ukraine, which is “hiding” what weapons it plans to give to Kyiv. Countries have different practices in approving and publicizing military aid. Some provide detailed lists, while others report only the most general information about the type of weapon. There is no publicly available information on deals to send Soviet-style weapons to Ukraine in exchange for receiving new Western weapons. Regarding the US, it is true that there is detailed and public information about the military aid provided to Ukraine, but not every single package is voted on in Congress.
Translated by Vanessa Nikolova