TechBulgaria sends first heavy military equipment to aid Ukraine

Bulgaria sends first heavy military equipment to aid Ukraine

The armored transporter BTR-60 at a parade in Bulgaria.
The armored transporter BTR-60 at a parade in Bulgaria.
Images source: © Kiril Kapustin
1:22 PM EDT, March 17, 2024

Ukraine has received its first batch of heavy military equipment from Bulgaria, marking a significant move by the latter to support Ukraine amidst ongoing conflicts. A total of 100 BTR-60 armoured personnel carriers were transferred to Ukraine, overcoming initial reluctance and debates among Bulgarian politicians. In this article, we delve into the details of this equipment transfer and its potential impact on the Ukrainian forces.

After much deliberation among Bulgarian politicians, Ukraine has been provided with heavy military equipment, a decision not easily reached. The opposition from President Rumen Radev had cast doubt on the transfer. Nonetheless, Bulgarian Defense Minister Todor Tagarev confirmed the successful delivery of all the prepared BTR-60s to Ukraine, signaling a strong stance of support.

100 BTR-60 transporters for Ukraine

The transfer process was officially kick-started on July 21, 2023, according to the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense's website. Despite the procedural delays and overcoming President Radev's veto in December 2023, the final agreement with Ukraine was ratified on January 2nd, paving the way for the transport preparations. By early March, the first batch of 30 BTR-60s embarked on their journey from Bulgaria to Ukraine, with the last arriving recently.
As Todor Tagarev announced, "We are analyzing the declared needs of Ukraine and our capabilities to provide additional assistance," indicating ongoing support for Ukraine.

How will the BTR-60 help Ukraine?

The BTR-60 armored personnel carriers stand as the first heavy military equipment sent from Bulgaria to Ukraine, joining previous contributions of fuel, handheld weapons, and ammunition. Historically, Bulgaria's support has been crucial, at times satisfying up to one-third of Ukraine's ammunition needs during the initial stages of the conflict.
Originally acquired by Bulgaria in the late 1980s, the BTR-60 is designed for versatility and durability. Each vehicle measures approximately 24.6 feet in length and weighs over 11 tons. Equipped with an 8x8 drive, it boasts a maximum speed of about 50 mph on paved roads and can navigate vertical obstacles up to 1.31 feet and cross water bodies.
The BTR-60s are expected to be predominantly used by the Ukrainian forces for the transportation of troops and equipment in relatively safer areas, leveraging their older and less armored vehicles cautiously away from the front line to minimize risks.
Accommodating up to 16 individuals, including the crew, and armed with 7.62 mm and 14.5 mm machine guns, the BTR-60 offers a blend of mobility and firepower, contributing to Ukraine's defensive and operational capabilities amidst the ongoing conflict.
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