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NATO countries bought 14 Su-25 aircraft from Bulgaria and gave them to Ukraine

NATO countries bought 14 Soviet-made Su-25 attack aircraft in Bulgaria and handed them over to Ukraine. This is reported by “Bloomberg”, referring to the Dutch analytical project Oryx, led by a former military officer, and also to statements by supporters of Ukraine.

In the publication of “Bloomberg” and one of the cited sources, there is no mention of direct supplies of weapons from Bulgaria to Ukraine, but of those sold to other countries, which were subsequently handed over to Kyiv.

Already in May 2022, a publication appeared in the Polish publication Defense.pl, which cited the NEXTA agency, according to which 14 Su-25 attack aircraft from “one of the Eastern European partners” were delivered to Ukraine. The text then noted that the machines had arrived “in parts” by land. And the agency claimed that the number of delivered aircraft corresponded to the size of the Bulgarian Su-25 fleet and recalled that eight of them were recently modernized by the Belarusian aviation plant in Baranovichi.

Immediately after that, “24 Chasa” sought the Ministry of Defense for a comment, but they denied the information: “The SU-25 attack aircraft, which Ukraine allegedly received, are not from Bulgaria.”

It is likely that the same SU-25s are now being referred to in the Bloomberg publication, as their numbers match.

The Bulgarian parliament voted at the end of last year to send weapons to Kyiv, and in the previous National Assembly this was the subject of fierce disputes and was rejected by the then coalition partner BSP. At the same time, in the spring of 2022, allegations appeared that the shipment of military equipment to Ukraine was taking place through Poland.

By 2022, it was known that Bulgaria had 14 Su-25s. In October, flights with them stopped after one of them crashed at the Bezmer air base, and the pilot ejected, which saved his life.

The authors also refer to data from Oryx, some of which have been collected in a special publication since the first months of the war. The date is from April 11, but from the arsenal described and the transmission times indicated in the list, it follows that the publication is constantly updated.

The Oryx website mentions 14 Su-25 aircraft “purchased by Bulgaria from NATO member states and delivered to Ukraine”. April 2022 is listed as the time of the deal. Another Balkan country has given Su-25, but in August – North Macedonia (other cases of aircraft are not mentioned).

Bulgaria, according to the same publication, bought from the Czech Republic an unclear number of 152 mm D-20 howitzers (in April 2022), BM-21 Grad rocket launchers (May or June 2022), also from the Czech Republic, and an unknown number of T-72M1 tanks in May or June.

The same platform documented the destruction of a total of 40 T-72 tanks used by the Ukrainian army during the war. Flags indicate Poland, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic as origin.

Oryx’s creator, Steen Mitzer, is a military history book author who follows conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, the Caucasus and elsewhere, and who also provides data on the war in Ukraine.

These are not the first publications that mention Bulgarian weapons in Ukraine, but usually do not specify when they were sold. At least twice – in the summer and in December – a Ukrainian brigade boasted of its weapons, which, according to reports from Ukrainian sources, were delivered precisely from Bulgaria, writes “Diary”.

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