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MOSCOW, October 16. /TASS-DEFENSE/. Russia will not maintain the Bulgarian Air Force (BulAF) Mikoyan MiG-29 (NATO reporting name: Fulcrum) fighters, if Bulgaria awards Poland a contract for maintaining them, MiG Corp. Director General Sergei Korotkov told journalists on Friday.
"If Bulgaria and Poland sign an agreement on the repair of the RD-33 engines powering the MiG jets, this will leave us no other choice than to discontinue the support of the MiG-29 planes operated by the Bulgarian Air Force," Korotkov said.
He explained that in such a case the legality of the further operation of the fighters as well as the safety of their pilots would be questionable. "We deplore that a decision like that has been taken proceeding from the considerations of political expedience alone and, most likely, has resulted from outside pressures," he added.
As was reported in the press, the Bulgarian government gave green light to the signing of a Bulgarian-Polish intergovernmental agreement on repairing BulAF’s Russian-made MiG-29 planes. Poland is to repair the engines and other equipment of six BulAF MiG-29s. Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolai Nenchev and Polish Vice-Premier/Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak signed the agreement.
Then, the MiG Corp. director general notified Bulgarians in an official letter that the Bulgarian MiG-29 fighters could not be repaired in Poland, stressing: "The Russian side has not issued Poland a licence and the relevant technical publications for the repair of the engines of the planes."
According to US publication Military Balance, BulAF operates 12 MiG-29A (Fulcrim-A) fighters and four MiG-29UB (Fulcrum-B) combat trainers.