Attending the European Council meeting in Brussels, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov reiterated his call for Russia to immediately release the Ukrainian sailors it captured in an incident in the Azov Sea in late November.
Borissov said that the immediate release of the sailors “would greatly contribute to resolving the crisis between Russia and Ukraine and, despite the domestic political problems that they want to resolve, to seize and close this conflict”.
The Bulgarian Prime Ministers noted that all EU leaders unanimously had voted on December 13 to extend sanctions against Russia, adding that this was to ensure compliance with the Minsk agreements.
“Bulgaria is extremely vulnerable to this conflict, not only because of the transit of gas, but simply because of the proximity to the waters of the Black Sea. I really hope that the Russian authorities will take a good look at this proposal and the ordinary sailors will be released,” Borissov said.
Speaking on December 13, European Council President Donald Tusk said that EU leaders had discussed the recent escalation in the Sea of Azov.
“The European Council is united in the conviction that there is no justification for the use of military force by Russia. Therefore, we request the immediate release of all detained Ukrainian seamen.
“Russia must not limit the freedom of navigation through the Kerch Strait. While the EU continues to follow developments in the Sea of Azov, we will provide additional assistance to the affected regions,” Tusk said.
He said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron also presented the state of implementation of the Minsk Agreements, “and we decided to renew our economic sanctions against Russia, given that no progress has been made”.