Bulgaria supported Ukraine’s course for closer ties with the European Union and stood ready to help authorities in Kyiv with expert support, Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov said on February 16 after meeting his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin, who is visiting Sofia.
Mitov said that Ukraine was a foreign policy priority for Bulgaria because of the numerous ties binding the two countries, but also because of the Bulgarian ethnic minority in Ukraine. He said that the governments of the two countries had a “similar view” on a number of issues, including the ongoing clashes in eastern Ukraine.
“At our meeting, I once again re-affirmed our position supporting the sovereignty, independence and territorial indivisibility of Ukraine, as well as our support for the peaceful resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine,” Mitov said.
Klimkin said that media reports claiming that the Bulgarian ethnic minority was particularly targeted by mobilisation orders were not true. He said that only 20 ethnic Bulgarians in Ukraine had received mobilisation orders, out of an estimated 200 000, and said that such claims in Russian media were meant to influence the Bulgarian-Ukrainian relations, as quoted by Bulgarian National Radio.
He said that Kyiv would co-operate with Bulgarian authorities, which announced last week plans to send humanitarian aid to regions affected by the military conflict in Ukraine.
On the topic of the recent cease-fire agreement reached in Minsk, Mitov said: “We are all looking with hope to the results of the agreement signed in Minsk. I am encouraged by the opinion of the Ukrainian foreign minister that this agreement offers a chance for the first steps towards de-escalation of the conflict.”
Klimkin said that Ukrainian government forces observed the agreement, but accused the rebel forces of failing to do the same, saying that the Ukrainian army came under fire 112 times in the past 24 hours.
(Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov, right, and his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin address the media after their meeting in Sofia on February 16 2015. Photo: mfa.bg)