Bulgarian President meets foreign minister, intelligence chiefs on Ukraine

Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev met foreign minister Kristian Vigenin and the heads of military intelligence and the National Intelligence Service on March 2 to discuss the situation in Ukraine, the President’s press service.

Plevneliev was briefed on the assessments of the foreign ministry and the intelligence chiefs on threats to national security related to developments in Ukraine, the statement said.

The meeting discussed preparations for the March 3 special meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels to discuss the Crimea crisis in Ukraine, and Bulgaria’s stance in the March 2 meeting of Nato’s North Atlantic Council.

Bulgaria’s position is that the EU declares itself in favour of the preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

The President and the responsible institutions were continuing to closely monitor the situation, the statement said.

Speaking to public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio on March 2, Vigenin said that Bulgaria should take an active stand on the events taking place in Ukraine, rather than only keeping an eye on them.

A possible military conflict and continued instability in that country are bad for Bulgaria as well, because of its close geographic proximity to Ukraine and the fact that thousands of Ukrainians of Bulgarian origin live there. Neither Russia, not the EU would benefit from a country which is on the brink of an economic collapse, Vigenin said.

The problems can be solved without military intervention, he said.

“I am ready to visit Ukraine and meet with the Bulgarian community there if necessary,” Vigenin said.

Bulgaria is getting ready to receive Bulgarians living in Ukraine, Vigenin said.

In a March 1 statement, the foreign ministry said that Bulgaria was “seriously concerned” with the decision of the Council of the Russian Federation to authorise the use of Russian armed force on the territory of Ukraine, in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

“We insist to refrain from undertaking measure that could threaten Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and destabilize the whole region. We appeal to all parties for restraint in their statements and actions, dialogue and undertaking of urgent measures for lowering the tension in Crimea,” Vigenin was quoted in the statement as saying.

On March 3, the Soviet Army monument in Sofia was daubed in red with the words, “hands off Ukraine”.



The Sofia Globe staff

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