SOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgaria’s defense capabilities will not be seriously affected by Moscow’s decision to suspend Russian helicopter repair certificates to local companies, the defense minister said Friday.
Dragomir Zakov said Bulgaria would also continue to repair Ukrainian military equipment.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a statement a day earlier that NATO and European Union member countries are supplying weapons and military equipment to Ukraine and planning their repair at plants in Eastern Europe. In response to this, she explained, Russia is suspending permission for two Bulgarian companies and one Czech firm to carry out repairs and maintenance of Russian-designed helicopters.
The statement implies that Russia will also no longer provide spare parts.
Bulgaria had previously agreed to repair Ukrainian military equipment at its military factories, although it refused to send weapons directly.
Zakov said that Moscow’s decision would not seriously affect Bulgaria, nor would it hinder its repair of Ukrainian military equipment.
“What happened with gas has now happened with helicopter licenses,” Zakov said, referring to an earlier suspension of Russian gas deliveries to Bulgaria after it refused to pay in rubles.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, and the two countries are still at war.