Effective March 1, Bulgaria has officially halted the use and importation of Russian oil for fuel production, following a decision by the Parliament to drop the derogation.

Initially slated to remain in effect until the end of the year, lawmakers opted to significantly shorten the timeline to avoid indirectly financing Russia amidst ongoing geopolitical tensions. Additionally, starting from January 1, the export of processed products derived from Russian oil was also ceased. Despite concerns, industry experts predict that this move will not cause a spike in fuel prices, with rates expected to remain relatively stable.

The day preceding the ban on Russian oil usage, the Bulgarian government’s air force issued a warning, indicating that flight operations would need to be halted due to a lack of kerosene supply. Zlatko Zlatev, the head of the State Aviation Operator, conveyed this dilemma to the Minister of Transport, highlighting the urgent need for resolution. Options discussed included extending the derogation for aviation fuel or exploring alternative arrangements, potentially involving increased expenditures from the treasury.

In response to the aviation sector’s concerns, the Ministry of Transport acknowledged receipt of the warning but refrained from providing immediate commentary on potential solutions.

The decision to terminate the importation of Russian raw materials was formally approved by the parliament in December 2023, reflecting Bulgaria’s strategic response to evolving geopolitical dynamics.