Standard US practice. It supplied anti-Soviet mujahedeen in Afghanistan from Egyptian stocks, and Syria rebels from Croatian stocks
- Eastern bloc arms = plausible deniability
This article originally appeared at Novinite - Bulgarian news agency
The United States is delivering arms to Ukraine via Bulgaria, an article on RIA Novosti reads.
Bulgaria is also "producing ammunition for the Ukrainian army" with US money, and Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic are ready to take part in similar schemes, the text argues further.
Washington is doing so "despite official declarations" and has so far transferred about 200 sniper rifles and 400 assault rifles and 200 grenade launchers, the author, Aleksandr Hrolenko, notes [RU], arguing this "transit country" has been used for not less than 20 years "when necessary to hide traces".
Reports about the latter role of Bulgaria emerged for the first time in December.
In his words, the aim might be to embroil Russia in a long-term military conflict.
While until recently Bulgaria and Ukraine were both partners and rivals on the international arms market, with Ukraine profiting more, this relationship changed with the developments in the Donbass region in the spring of 2014.
Reports by the press office of Ukraine's Ukroboronprom concern are cited according to which a contract was signed last year between US arms manufacturer Barrett Firearms and a firm exporting equipment for Ukroboronprom.
Details about the arms, which were designated for the security services and the National Guard of Ukraine, have only recently emerged, RIA writes.
A US company called AMI Global Security, registered in Portland, Oregon, exported equipment at a total price of USD 7.5 M.
The name of a Bulgarian company, Bulcomers KS Ltd (previously referred to as Bulkomers in the December reports about weapons deliveries via Bulgaria) is pointed to as the "official broker" in the deal.
The arms sold to Ukraine were designed for fighting against lightly armored equipment, damaging radars and defusing ammunition and mines from a safe distance.
Part of the equipment might also be transported from Bulgaria to Ukraine in the form of "auto parts", which the Balkan nation has traditionally been exporting.
An announcement by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov in February 2015, containing a list of items Kiev received as lethal assistance, is cited to confirm the weapons were supplied.
Reference is made to an incident this summer when a US citizen and two Bulgarians died at the Anevo military ground. Reports emerged subsequently the development had occurred during a test of arms manufactured for Syrian opposition forces fighting Islamic State.
(Back then Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski said Bulgaria was not exporting arms to Syria.)
The text also reads that Ukraine turned to the US and other states "more than once" to buy weapons.