Bulgaria on Friday announced that it will not deliver arms to Ukraine.
Speaking to reporters in the capital Sofia, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said his country will not engage in “hostilities” in Ukraine and that no arms would be supplied “at this time.”
He underlined, however, that strong support for Ukraine would continue.
Petkov added that the country will only send humanitarian aid and accept refugees from Ukraine.
Bulgaria, the prime minister said, will also contribute to strengthening the eastern flank together with NATO.
He said the alliance should work in close coordination with countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
On Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Kornelia Ninova, whose Bulgarian Socialist Party is part of the coalition government, said that no request had been received by Bulgaria from the US to transfer arms to Ukraine.
Ninova had stressed that they would oppose any kind of arms transfer to Ukraine.
Innovation and Growth Minister Daniel Lorer also said that Bulgaria would not send military aid to Ukraine.
President Roumen Radev on Friday made it clear that the country should be in solidarity with Ukraine but providing arms to Ukraine would be a “risky” decision that should be avoided.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has arrived in Bulgaria, official BTA news agency reported.
Petkov is scheduled to meet with Austin on Saturday.
The Russia-Ukraine war, which started on Feb. 24, has drawn international condemnation, led to financial restrictions on Moscow, and spurred an exodus of global firms from Russia.
At least 816 civilians have been killed and 1,333 injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, the UN said, while noting that figure is actually probably higher.
More than 3.27 million people have also fled to neighboring countries, said the UN refugee agency.
*Written and contributed by Ahmet Gencturk in AnkaraAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.