Bulgaria Won't Send Weapons to Ukraine as Zelensky Faces Calls to End War

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov confirmed that his government has no plans to send heavy weapons to Ukraine amid Russia's invasion, saying that Bulgaria has "done enough" to help Kyiv with humanitarian relief.

"We'll do what we have promised to do and there's no need to reignite the debate every two weeks," Petkov told local media on Tuesday. "We've supported the incoming refugees, we have sent all kinds of humanitarian aid, we have also been involved with repairing Ukraine's heavy weapons and we're in line with all sanctions against Russia."

"We've done enough and we'll continue to support Ukraine," he said in response to Kyiv's plea for military aid.

Bulgaria has avoided sending ammunition to Ukraine since Russia's invasion began on February 24, while negotiating a different deal with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that involved using Bulgaria's factories to repair Ukraine's heavy weapons and using the country's port of Varna to transport Ukrainian grain.

Bulgaria Ukraine Zelensky Military
Bulgaria's Prime Minister Kiril Petkov reiterated his government's position on sending military aid to Ukraine on Tuesday. Above, Petkov speaks to the press ahead of an EU leaders meeting to discuss Ukraine, defense and energy in Brussels on May 31, 2022. Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Petkov's remarks came just days after Kyiv's ambassador to Bulgaria, Vitaliy Moskalenko, said that the country has Soviet weaponry that could help Ukraine's defense and sent a letter asking Petkov to reconsider his stance.

His comments also echo those of Kornelia Ninova, the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, who said "there is no need for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to fulfill Ukraine's request" on Monday.

"The case is closed," Ninova said.

Bulgaria has dodged sending military aid to Kyiv to avoid deepening the divisions between the pro-European Union and pro-Kremlin parties within Bulgaria's coalition government. Ninova's party has previously threatened to leave the coalition if Bulgaria supplies the Ukrainian army with heavy weapons.

Bulgaria's refusal to break from its position on military aid comes as other European countries want a quicker, diplomatic resolution to the war.

On Friday—which marked the 100th day of the war in Ukraine—French President Emmanuel Macron called on Ukraine not to "humiliate" Russia and give Russian President Vladimir Putin an exit from his "historic and fundamental mistake" of ordering an invasion.

"We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means," Marcon told the French press. "I am convinced that it is France's role to be a mediating power."

In response, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said, "Calls to avoid [the] humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it."

Newsweek reached out to Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.