Home Politics #MinskMonitor: Bulgarian Deadly Arms Exports to Ukraine

#MinskMonitor: Bulgarian Deadly Arms Exports to Ukraine


Weapons discovered on either side of the Donbas entrance traces

(Supply: YouTube / Press Service of the DNR’s Individuals’s Militia Directorate)

The @DFRLab just lately reported on the industrial sale of American-made rocket-propelled grenade launchers to Ukraine, which occurred with the approval of the U.S. Departments of Protection and State. With a lot worldwide consideration centered on the supply of deadly American support to Ukraine, we investigated how different Western governments already delivered deadly support to Ukraine to help in its ongoing warfare towards Russia and Russia-led separatists within the Donbas.

On this #MinskMonitor, we analyze how Bulgarian-made grenades are exported to Ukraine, and are being utilized by either side of the battle in jap Ukraine.

Avakov’s Announcement

One of many earliest official mentions of Bulgarian-made deadly weapon exports to Ukraine for the reason that outbreak of the battle occurred in 2015, when Ukrainian Inside Minister Arsen Avakov shared data on new arms being launched to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Avakov described how DRTG-73 anti-tank grenades have been being exported to Ukraine, “for the tanks and BTRs of the aggressors.” These rocket-propelled grenades are produced by Bulgaria’s largest protection producer, Vazovski Mashinostritelni Zavod (VMZ).

(Supply: Fb / Arsen Avakov)

Together with the textual content, Avakov hooked up of a rocket-propelled grenade.

(Supply: Fb / Arsen Avakov)

Nonetheless, Avakov’s was not of a DRTG-73 grenade, as described within the textual content of his submit, however as a substitute the ROG-22 rocket fragmentation grenade, additionally produced by VMZ.

The DRTG-73 rocket-propelled grenade, as described by VMZ, “a disposable particular person weapon” that comes with a launcher. The weapon might be seen beneath, differing from the posted by Avakov on Fb.

Avakov later posted of the imported weapons, which included the Bulgarian rocket-propelled grenades and their launchers.

(Supply: Fb / Arsen Avakov)

These rocket-propelled grenades and launchers have been VMZ-made RPG-22 techniques, as seen as compared between the displayed weapons with on the VMZ web site.

RPG-22 picture on the suitable flipped 180 levels. (Sources: Fb / Arsen Avakov at left and VMZ at proper)

In sum, in his Fb submit and subsequent feedback , Ukrainian Inside Minister Arsen Avakov both immediately referenced or posted pictures of all three of VMZ’s rocket-propelled grenade launchers: the DRTG-73, ROG-22, and RPG-22 disposable techniques.

Bulgarian weapons utilized by the Ukrainian Armed Forces

In November 2017, the so-called Donetsk Individuals’s Republic (DNR) Directorate of the Individuals’s Militia revealed a video, which claimed to indicate Bulgarian weapons fired by the Ukrainian Armed Forces close to the village of Zaitseve.

(Supply: YouTube / DNR’s Individuals’s Militia’s Directorate)

These rocket-propelled grenades have been manufactured by the Bulgarian Arsenal manufacturing unit, as seen within the quantity ten inside two circles.

Double-circle 10 on the grenades, the mark of the Bulgarian “Arsenal” manufacturing unit. (Supply: YouTube / DNR’s Individuals’s Militia’s Directorate)

Different Bulgarian weapons utilized by the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been present in November 2017, produced by each VMZ (11 enclosed by a double-circle) and Arsenal (10 enclosed by a double-circle). Images of those grenade instances have been posted onto the VK web page of Mikhail Andronik, who works within the press service of the so-called DNR’s armed forces.

(Supply: VK / Mikhail Andronik)

Amongst these instances have been the VMZ manufacturing unit’s rocket-propelled grenade, which have been beforehand present in Avdiivka’s industrial zone (Promzona) by the identical photographer.

Although arms just lately exported to Ukraine from Bulgaria have been despatched to the entrance traces, many of the Bulgarian-made grenades and shells which have been utilized in battle have been manufactured earlier than the autumn of the Soviet Union. The manufacturing dates of a few of the shells photographed by the so-called DNR’s press service are 1984, 1988, and 1989.

These weapons delivered to Ukraine from Bulgaria — each earlier than and after the outbreak of the continued battle — are a far cry from the costly and modernized weapons being offered by the USA, together with Javelin anti-tank missiles.

Separatists’ Bulgarian weapons

The Ukrainian Armed Forces aren’t the one forces within the nation with Bulgarian weapons, as Russian-led separatists have additionally added some Bulgarian weapons to their armaments. In December 2016, the Ukrainian Safety Providers (SBU) revealed pictures of weapons that have been seized from a separatist weapons cache close to the village of Berdyanske within the Donetsk Oblast. Amongst these weapons have been the RPG-22 produced by the Bulgarian protection producer VMZ. The weapon consists of an eleven with two circles round it, signifying the VMZ manufacturing unit, together with “РПГ-22” (RPG-2) in Cyrillic.

Picture rotated 180 levels to indicate inscriptions. (Supply: Flickr / Ukrainian Safety Providers)


The proliferation of Bulgarian-made weapons in jap Ukraine ought to be fully anticipated, particularly with the frequent sightings and documented usages of Soviet-era rocket-propelled grenades. The Bulgarian protection producers VMZ and Arsenal are infamous for the way freely their weapons have fallen into the fingers of insurgent teams and Islamic extremists .

Moreover, Bulgaria is likely one of the world’s largest weapon exporters, with over one billion Euros of licensed exports in 2016, which makes exports to Ukraine anticipated. In 2015 alone, Bulgaria exported over 16 million Euros of arms to Ukraine and emerged as a key buying and selling associate for Ukraine protection spending. Thus, we shouldn’t be shocked by the the presence of Bulgarian-made weapons on the either side of the front-line within the Donbas.

Subsequent week, @DFRLab will proceed our ongoing survey of Western deadly exports to Ukraine over the previous 4 years and publish analysis on Lithuanian weapons exported to Ukraine.

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