GERB: Bulgarian Socialist Party echoes Kremlin talking points on Ukraine
Russia has chosen the path of international isolation while the Bulgarian Socialist Party is repeating the Kremlin’s talking points on Ukraine, centre-right opposition party GERB said in a media statement on March 16.
Bulgaria’s former ruling party, the largest single party in Parliament while also the opposition, said that the international isolation of Russia had become evident in the United Nations Security Council, where only Russia had stood behind its actions in Crimea and the “impending annexation of Ukrainian territory”.
No other country had supported Russia and China had abstained, the GERB statement said.
Such a violation of international law, unprecedented in the 21st century, could remain without consequences from the international community, which deemed the March 16 referendum in Crimea illegal and illegitimate, the opposition party said.
Referring to the BSP position on Ukraine released on March 15, GERB emphasised that the BSP had made no mention of the referendum in Crimea, “which was surprising”.
“On the contrary, in its position, the BSP repeated the propaganda clichés of Moscow on Russia’s military operation in Crimea,” GERB said.
The party said that the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine should be maintained and there should be respect for international treaties, particularly the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, of which Russia was a guarantor.
GERB support the signing as soon as possible of an Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine and the accompanying package of measures to stabilise the country.
The party said that it was in Bulgaria’s interests that there be a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine and mutually beneficial co-operation with Russia, and said that the Bulgarian government should not indulge in scaremongering regarding possible economic sanctions against Moscow, which could lead to projects including South Stream suffering.
The Bulgarian government should come up with concrete and realistic estimates of potential losses and how to compensate for them using EU solidarity, GERB said.
Meanwhile, the smallest party in the 42nd National Assembly, far-right ultra-nationalists Ataka, called for a special sitting of Bulgaria’s Parliament to discuss the situation in Ukraine.
Led by Volen Siderov, Ataka has mounted a failed campaign to seize on the Ukraine issue. Parliament turned down an Ataka request for Bulgaria to declare neutrality ahead of any armed conflict in Ukraine, while Siderov earlier called on Bulgarian foreign minister Kristian Vigenin to resign over his visit to Ukraine.
Ataka is among nationalist grouping from Bulgaria to have sent representatives to the March 16 referendum in Crimea on secession from Ukraine and accession to Russia, effectively endorsing a vote that has been rejected by all democratic countries and which is backed only by Russia.
Meanwhile, on March 16, two demonstrations were organised in Bulgaria in solidarity with the Crimea referendum, one at the Alyosha Soviet soldier monument in Plovdiv and the other outside the Russian embassy in Sofia.
The Ukraine crisis and the Crimea sequel have seen, in contrast, a number of protests by Bulgarians in solidarity with those in Ukraine who rejected the Yanukovych regime and want the country to take an EU path, while there also have been protests by Bulgarians to demand that Russia keep its hands off Ukraine.
(Archive photo: A redecorated Soviet Army monument in Sofia, in solidarity with Ukraine’s struggle against Russian domination)