New Bulgarian government reiterates strong support for Ukraine on Zelenskyy visit

New Bulgarian government reiterates strong support for Ukraine on Zelenskyy visit

‘Ukraine's future lies at the heart of European security, in NATO and in the EU,’ says Bulgarian premier

By Ahmet Gencturk and Burc Eruygur

ATHENS/ISTANBUL (AA) - Bulgaria's new government reiterated strong support for Ukraine on Thursday, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the country.

“Bulgaria has been consistent in its support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine because we believe that an independent and sovereign Ukraine is key to Euro-Atlantic security in the region,” Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov said in a news conference alongside Zelenskyy, according to state-run BTA news agency.

“Russia should withdraw unconditionally to its internationally recognized borders, and be duly held accountable, including for war crimes," he said.

Denkov stressed that Bulgaria’s support for Ukraine has become particularly strong in recent months with the new parliament and government.

Despite difficulties in its economy that it faces, Bulgaria supports all sanctions packages against Russia, he said.

“Ukraine's future lies at the heart of European security, in NATO and in the EU,” he said, adding that his country will continue to support Ukraine in its preparations to join the EU.

Zelenskyy said Ukraine and Bulgaria will strengthen defense cooperation, and he and Denkov discussed Sofia's defense support to Kyiv.

"We have agreed to significantly intensify cooperation between the defense ministries and the defense sector as a whole. We (also) discussed the defense assistance provided to us by Bulgaria," said Zelenskyy.

He said they discussed the Ukrainian Peace Formula, which he first presented at the G-20 summit in Indonesia.

"I informed Mr. Prime Minister (Denkov) about our work for the implementation of the Peace Formula. I want to note the readiness of Bulgaria, what I heard, to participate in these efforts," said Zelenskyy.

He thanked Bulgaria for hosting Ukrainians who were forced to flee because of the war.

Earlier, Denkov and Zelenskyy signed a joint declaration on Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration and energy ministers from both countries signed a memorandum on cooperation in the energy sector.

Having been welcomed by the Bulgarian Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel, Zelenskyy met his Bulgarian counterpart, Rumen Radev, who expressed solidarity with Ukrainians and victims of the war.

Radev, however, reiterated his objections against providing arms to Ukraine for fears that it may weaken Bulgarian defense capabilities.


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