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SOFIA, October 28. /TASS/. Russian aircraft manufacturing corporation MIG has warned Bulgaria it may suspend the servicing of Bulgarian MIG-29 fighter jets, as follows from a letter the MIG Director General, Yuri Korotkov, has sent to the Russian ambassador in Sofia, Yuri Issakov.
The warning follows a long dispute over Bulgaria's plans to do repairs and technology upgrades of the MIGs of Russian manufacture at enterprises in Poland that were formalized in an agreement the Bulgarian and Polish Defense Ministers signed Nikolay Nenchev and Tomasz Siemoniak signed on October 22.
"This is Bulgaria’s bid for closer integration within the EU and NATO," the Bulgarian minister remarked," Nenchev said after the signing ceremony in Warsaw.
"To Bulgaria, this is a geo-strategic choice, not just a selection of a partner," Siemoniak said on his part. "Our joint cooperation within the EU and NATO acquires new quality. We evaluate highly the bold decision and the brave approach of Minister Nikolay Nenchev; a bold decision of the government, which is highly important."
In his letter, Sergey Korotkov warned that repairs of engines installed on the Bulgarian jets at Polish plans would lay grounds for a termination of contract obligations by MIG corporation, the developer and manufacturer of the MIG-29 fighter jets, in what concerns their maintenance and servicing in Bulgaria.
"The question of legitimacy or further use of the jets and safety guarantees for the pilots will also be raised," the letter said.
"The terms offered by MIG are quite lucrative for Bulgaria economically," Korotkov said. "While Poland is ready to extend the service life of the engines for 1.023 million euro, our corporation would do this for 1.050 million euro."
"Along with it, Russia will issue a warranty for 500 flight hours versus the 350 hours warrantied by Poland," the letter said. "That means by Bulgarian Air Force will have to make payments to Poland twice as often."
"Although this incident (the signing of the Bulgarian-Polish agreement TASS) causes deep regret, we proceed from the centuries-old friendship between Russia and Bulgaria and continue hoping that cooperation based on the norms of international law will continue," Korotkov said.
Bulgarian parliament is expected to ratify the agreement on the MIG-29’s in the coming few days.