This post is based on the article appeared at the diana-mihailova blog.
Another vessel with Bulgarian weapons for Syrian ‘rebels’ heads off to Saudi Arabia, while Bulgarian military enterprises show fantastic results of development and become drivers of the country’s economy, the EurAsia Daily information agency reported on Friday.
So, executive director of the Vazovsky Machinery Plant (VMZ), Ivan Getsov, said that according to the results of 2016, the profit growth will be 400 percent. This information has been published on the official website of the enterprise, which produces a wide range of weapons of Soviet and Russian models: from anti-tank grenade launchers to rocket projectiles for the Grad rocket launcher systems. Since 2015, the VMZ sells them to the American Orbital ATK and Chemring companies, which purchase non-standard for NATO weapons under the Pentagon’s program in order to supply it to US allies. The Syrian ‘moderate’ opposition receives these weapons hrough Saudi Arabia.
Getsov does not name specific figures of the profit. However, according to Bulgarian Economy Minister Bojidar Loukarsky, only in the first half of the year, the VMZ sales have grown 4.5 times – from $20 million to $91 million. By the end of the year, the enterprise expected to increase the income up to $135 million.
The impact of supplies of Bulgarian weapons to Syria on the development of the plant in Sopot can be seen by increases in the workforce of the enterprise and its salaries. Since 2015, the number of employees has almost doubled and now stands at 4,400 people. The average salary, according to Getsov, has grown two and a half times, up to $837, and is one and a half times higher than the national average. According to the National Statistical Institute of Bulgaria, it amounted to $515 last year.
Until 2014, the VMZ was on the verge of bankruptcy due to the lack of orders and debts to suppliers worth about $60 million. The government unsuccessfully tried to sell it and staff strikes occurred regularly because of delays in paying wages.
The breakthrough, connected with supplies of weapons to the Middle East, took place not only at the Vazovsky Machinery Plant. The Samel 90, Arsenal JSCo., ARMAR Corp., Arcus enterprises and the Kintex state company for export, re-export and import of arms also significantly improved their effectiveness.
EurAsia Daily has already reported about supplies and delivery schemes of Bulgarian weapons to Syria. The last time it was in December, when a correspondent of the Bulgarian Trud newspaper, Dilyana Gaitandzhieva, visited an abandoned warehouse of terrorists in the liberated part of Aleppo and discovered weapons from Bulgaria, in particular the Grad 122-mm rockets.
After this, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said that there are questions to the Bulgarian side. In response, the Bulgarian Economy Minister said that the country has nothing to be blamed for, as it obeys the international legislation. Indeed, Bulgaria sells weapons not directly, but through, for example, the US.
It is interesting that after the coming to power of the new US president and reports about suspension of assistance to the Syrian ‘moderate’ opposition, the Pentagon has not stopped to purchase weapons from Bulgaria. As the Orbital ATK company reported in January, it won another contract for purchase and supply of non-NATO weapons worth $50 million to US allies. In this way, a total portfolio of the state order for these weapons amounted to more than $200 million in 2016.
Meanwhile, last night, Turkish blogger Yerik Ishik discovered another vessel with Bulgarian weapons, which currently heads off to Saudi Arabia. As an expert, specializing in monitoring of the Bosporus strait, wrote on his Twitter, the Marianne Danica ship moved from the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. “[It] has passed through the strait, follows from Burgas to Jeddah with a cargo of weapons aboard,” the Turkish blogger wrote and posted a photo of the Danish vessel. His data has been confirmed by the MarineTraffic specialized navigation portal – at that moment, the ship was in the Marmara Sea and headed off to Jeddah.
Earlier, another vessel, the Karina Danica, operated on the same route. The both ships belong to the H. Folmer & Co company and follow the same route from Burgas to Jeddah. At the same time, the American Orbital ATK is the customer of the Danish company for a long time. Ishik noted that the Marianne Danica has a long history of delivering weapons from Western Sahara to Egypt and repeatedly got into scandals with illegal supplies.
Saudi Arabia, where the vessels deliver arms, does not use weapons and ammunition of non-NATO standards. The deadly cargo is sent from the kingdom to Syria or Yemen.