Bulgaria has been Unable to Collect its Aircraft which was Sent for Repair to Ukraine
Due to the war in Ukraine, Bulgaria has not been able to collect the An-30 aircraft that was sent for repairs for months now. This was explained by the Acting Minister of Defense Dimitar Stoyanov. The aircraft is not affected by the ongoing hostilities. But it cannot be returned either.
The plane has been in Ukraine since January 2021. According to the contract with the Ukrainian company, the machine and engines had to undergo major overhaul. It is expected that after the repair, the operation of the aircraft, build in 1975, will last 7 years or 4000 hours. Bulgaria paid about BGN 6 million and 130 thousand without VAT. But after the war in Ukraine, the question of returning the machine became problematic. During his visit to Ukraine before the holidays, the Acting Minister of Defense Dimitar Stoyanov raised the issue of returning the plane. However, there is no solution yet.
"The Ukrainian side continues to claim that the current conditions are, roughly speaking, unsuitable. The probability of the plane being hit in the air is huge and they don't want to take that risk. Our investments there are guaranteed by the Ukrainian side. Despite their wish for these guarantees to be simplified, we were adamant at the Ministry of Defense that such guarantees must be concluded in order to protect Bulgaria's financial interest," said Stoyanov.
The aircraft is used for surveillance missions within the Open Skies program. Countries could conduct mutual observation flights over military sites. However, the US and Russia left the treaty successively in 2020 and 2021.
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