Ukrainian cargo plane flew 9 times from Varna and Burgas with Defense-Related Products –

A Ukrainian An-12 charge Plane flew nine times between February 24 and May 10 this year from Rzeszów Airport in Poland to Varna and Burgas with “defense related products“.

This is shown by a report provided to Bulgarian media “Dnevnik” by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) under the Law on Access to Public Information.

The aircraft is owned by the Ukrainian company Motor Sich, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of aircraft engines and helicopters. She flew to Varna on April 20 and 21 this year and from there back to Rzeszów, 78 km from the border with Ukraine. The company also has its own civil and charge Airline.

The Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued two diplomatic permits for the flights, as indicated by the reference provided. The document is required when a foreign aircraft with military equipment flies through Bulgarian airspace. Approval must be agreed in advance with the ministries defense and Transportation and Information Technology, which also require a positive response to the flight request.

In the same period, between February 24 and May 10, seven more diplomatic permits were issued for flights on Motor Sich aircraft to and from Burgas Airport. According to a report available to Dnevnik, they took place on February 24th and 28th, on March 2nd, 6th, 9th and 12th and on April 27th. However, it is not clear from their content whether the permits apply to the same aircraft that landed in Varna or to different ones.

According to the responses to questions sent to the State Department, the flights were aimed at “position and carry out charge flights“. It is stated that the transported goods come from both Varna and Burgas “defense related products

Data from flight-tracking platform FlightRadar24 shows that one of the two planes, which had received diplomatic clearances from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took off from Burgas around 1 a.m. on April 21 and landed in Varna 20 minutes later. At 4 a.m. the same day, the plane took off for Rzeszow in Poland. A few hours later it returned to Varna.

After February 24, 2022, Rzeszów Airport became one of the busiest in Poland. It is said to be the main logistical base for the transfer of arms provided by the United States and the European Union Ukraine‘s defense at war with Russia. A mark of his role was the visit of US President Joe Biden, who met with Polish President Andrzej Duda and US troops stationed in Poland.

A few days after the officially confirmed flights from Varna and Burgas, on April 24, an An-124 aircraft belonging to the Ukrainian company “Antonov” – a state-owned company for the transport of heavy loads or military equipment – ​​was registered at Sofia Airport. The machine is the heaviest production aircraft in the world. His arrival was reported on social media, including by Christo Grozev of the Bellingcat investigation website.

Five days later, bTV showed footage of the plane being loaded and announced that “Tarpaulin oversized charge” and “green boxes” were loaded around 10 p.m. on April 28 and flown to Rzeszów six hours later. The TV clarified that the government and the Ministry of Economy did not answer what the load was. Asked by the TV if it was possible Bulgaria to support militarily Ukraine Without the consent of the National Assembly, Deputy Prime Minister Kornelia Ninova, in charge of defense industry, said: “That is not possible and will not be done.”

Ninova responded to suspicions about unofficial shipments of weapons made in China Bulgaria to Ukraine by third countries with the same thesis – that Bulgaria does not export weapons to Kyiv. However, she clarified that the country makes deliveries under previously concluded contracts for 50 countries and cannot know where these go after the sale.

Ninova’s written responses to a parliamentary question from GERB MPs show that this is just a month after the Russian attack on Ukraine, Bulgaria has exported specialty products worth more than 316 million euros to EU member states, almost three times as much as in the same period last year. The EU countries are the main arms suppliers Ukraine According to Ninova’s replies, from February 20 to April 13, 2022, 31 licenses for the export of weapons and ammunition to various countries, including Poland, were issued to individuals and legal entities.

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