Bulgarian President, PM call on Russia to free captured Ukrainian sailors

Bulgaria’s President Roumen Radev and Prime Minister Boiko Borissov were in rare agreement on November 27 when the two called on Russia to free the Ukrainian sailors captured at the weekend in an incident that has heightened tensions between the two countries.

Borissov said he was following the situation with concern: “I have always defended the position that we must develop our relations pragmatically, based on economic befefits and within the rules of international co-operation,” he said.

“I call on my colleagues in Ukraine and Russia to show reason and moderation, because it is easy to cross a line from which there is no going back, It is in everyone’s interest that tension is overcome with dialogue and the captured soldiers are immediately freed,” Borissov said in a Facebook post.

Radev, who has a track record of advocating for closer ties with Moscow and opposing the EU sanctions on Russia (imposed over the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s support for separatist forces in eastern Ukraine), made a similar appeal after a meeting with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda in Sofia.

“We call for moderation, for reason, for de-escalation through dialogue, without the use of force, with guarantees for free civilian shipping, for the immediate return and release of the sailors and ships by the Russian Federation,” Radev said, as quoted by Bulgarian National Radio (BNR).

For his part, Duda’s comments struck a less conciliatory tone, with the Polish head of state saying that there was a need for more action to enforce the Minsk agreements, which were meant to bring about the peaceful resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

“There is no doubt that Russia is the agressor and once again breaches the agreements. If there are further sanctions against Russia, Poland is ready to support them and participate in initiatives that will lead to the resolution of the conflict between Moscow and Kyiv,” he said, as quoted by BNR.

(Roumen Radev, left, and Boiko Borissov photo: president.bg)



The Sofia Globe staff

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