Bulgaria should not be drawn into conflict in Ukraine: PM

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov told Parliament on February 4 that he had told Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg “clearly and precisely” that Bulgaria should not be drawn into the conflict in Ukraine.

Borissov was answering questions from the opposition whether the Bulgarian government had consented to the permanent deployment of heavy military equipment in the country.

Nato chief Stoltenberg visited Sofia on January 22, meeting President Rossen Plevneliev, PM Borissov, Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov and Defence Minister Nikolai Nenchev.

Borissov told the National Assembly on February 4 that while he could not speak on behalf of the Presidency, because he had not been informed, he had spent 30 minutes speaking to Nenchev, who will attend a Nato defence ministers council on February 5.

The Prime Minister said that he had given instructions to Nenchev ahead of the Nato meeting.

The conflict in Ukraine was very close to Bulgaria, while on the other hand, the country already had refugees coming from Syria and other countries in that region and there was no guarantee that people would not flee Ukraine, Borissov said.

Borissov said that he had told Stoltenberg that Bulgaria should in no way be drawn into the conflict in Ukraine.

The Bulgarian people were peace-loving and the topic of military action was unacceptable to them, Borissov said.

He said that there had been discussions about external offices in several countries, but these had to do with logistics and were not related to any military equipment.

NATO’s plans to set up a command and control centre in Sofia are part of the plans to reconsider the Alliance’s defence strategy, senior Nato officials said, according to a report by BTA. A decision on establishing such centres in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will be made at the one-day defence ministerial in Brussels on February 5.

Borissov said that if Bulgaria was requested to take part in military operations, the matter would be taken to the National Assembly for debate and a vote. No party had the right to take such a decision on its own, he said.

“We are not authorised to take any decisions to involve Bulgaria in a conflict.”

Borissov told MPs, “to our regret, the (Minsk) agreement is not respected and the war in Ukraine continues to grow to monstrous proportions”.

He said that he would welcome a National Assembly decision to send humanitarian aid, and if so, the government would organise such aid.

“There are people struggling, we have to act,” Borissov said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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