Bulgaria will never recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea, President Rossen Plevneliev said in Sofia on June 30 after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko.
It is a point that Plevneliev repeatedly has underlined.
In his speech to the European Parliament on June 8, Plevneliev said: “For me, for us, Crimea is Ukraine and Ukraine is Europe. I consider lifting visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens as a significant and urgent step to support Ukraine and let its people feel welcome and supported by Europeans”.
After their June 30 talks, Plevneliev and Poroshenko faced questions about discussions about steps to improve security in the Black Sea region.
Plevneliev said that his country welcomed the decisions to be taken at Nato’s Warsaw Summit – to be held on July 8 and 9 – to provide additional guarantees for the security of each the eastern member states, but also on the southern flank of Nato.
“In the Nato format, we are working to increase support for Ukraine through the comprehensive support package for Ukraine,” Plevneliev said.
The Bulgarian President emphasised that any initiative that Bulgaria supported could only be in the Nato format.
Referring to the “flotilla” issue, which some weeks ago caused a stir because of reports about Romania and Turkey seeking to involve Bulgaria in a permanent Black Sea naval presence, Plevneliev said that his Romanian counterpart had been very clear in denying this idea, while talking about co-operation, co-ordination and improving compatibility, all in the context of Nato.
Poroshenko said that Ukraine was actively developing co-operation with Nato.
“We are reforming the defence and security sector in co-operation with our partners, countries such as Bulgaria and Romania,” Poroshenko said. This was a matter in which Ukraine had a great interest, he said.
“It’s not just about discussing questions about creating a joint fleet. At the time of our meeting with the president of Romania, we emphasised that we support this initiative, but it is a matter also of setting up a joint brigade, modelled on that formed now by our Lithuanian and Polish partners,” Poroshenko said.