Fact Check: Bulgaria Is NOT Transferring MiG-29 Jets To Ukraine After Zelenskyy Visit

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  • от: Lead Stories автор
Fact Check: Bulgaria Is NOT Transferring MiG-29 Jets To Ukraine After Zelenskyy Visit No Aircraft

Is Bulgaria ready to donate its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine following a visit by Ukrainian President Zelenskyy on July 6? No, that's not true: Bulgaria's Defense Minister Todor Tagarev announced that during a visit to Sofia on July 6th, President Zelensky provided a list of weapons and ammunition needed by the Ukrainian army, but no aircraft were requested.

The claim appeared in a TikTok video (archived here) published on July 8, 2023, with a caption reading:

Bulgaria can transfer its MiG-29 aircraft to Ukraine, as well as help in the production of Soviet-style projectiles and the repair of armored vehicles. Vladimir Zelensky arrived in Bulgaria on July 6 at the invitation of the local authorities, writes UNIAN. Bulgaria has announced a new package of military aid to Ukraine, Ukrainian media reports.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot (8).png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Jul 12 13:17:52 2023 UTC)

False claims circulated on Bulgarian websites and social media posts after the visit of President Zelensky in Bulgaria on July 6, stating that Bulgaria is ready to transfer MiG-29s to Ukraine and Bulgaria would be disarmed because of foreign interests. One such claim stated:

Resignation and life imprisonment for Tagarev - he disarmed our army and left Bulgaria defenseless in the Third World War, he gave away our national wealth. National treason. Life imprisonment for such people!

Before an extraordinary meeting of the Defense Committee in parliament on July 7, 2023, the Defense Minister was asked if Zelensky had requested air defense systems, heavy armored vehicles, and anti-ship missiles, and Tagarev replied: "Everything, without aircraft."

The same day, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov also commented on the agreement for added cooperation in the defense and energy sector with Ukraine, stating:

We signed an agreement on energy cooperation and on deepening the partnership in the defense sector. Bulgaria will provide nothing that will impair the ability to defend our country as required from a military and military-technical point of view. The military aid to Ukraine is being prepared together with the Armed Forces of Bulgaria.

Responding to reports earlier this year based on leaked Pentagon documents saying that Bulgaria had expressed its readiness to donate its MiG-29 fighter jets to Kyiv, the Ministry of Defence refuted the claim that Bulgaria would freely provide the jets, saying:

The Ministry of Defense has not held any discussions on the free provision of Bulgarian MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. Such a decision would lead to a deficit of capabilities, which is contrary to the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Law on Defense and Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria. In implementation of the decision of the National Assembly from the end of 2022, the Ministry of Defense has successively debated on the possibilities of implementing the so-called "triangular deals", to replace part of the available armament with compatible ones from allied countries, without allowing loss of capabilities.

Other Lead Stories fact checks related to the fighter jets transferred to Ukraine can be found here.

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