US deeply concerned by Bulgarian President calling Crimea ‘Russian’

The United States is deeply concerned by the recent statements by Bulgarian President Roumen Radev in which he referred to Crimea as “Russian,” a media statement by the US embassy in Sofia said on November 22.

“The United States, G7, European Union, and Nato have all been clear and united in our position that, despite Russia’s attempted annexation and ongoing occupation, Crimea is Ukraine,” the embassy said, the morning after Radev won a second term in office in a run-off in Bulgaria’s 2021 presidential elections.

Radev, who on several occasions has called for the lifting of sanctions against Russia over its illegal annexation of Ukraine, reiterated in a November 18 television debate with his opponent that Crimea is now Russian.  

“All of us, including Bulgaria, declared at the Crimea Platform Summit in August that Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine and that we do not and will not recognize Russia’s efforts to legitimize its illegal seizure and occupation of the peninsula,” the US embassy said. 

“In recent days we have communicated our deep concern to the Bulgarian government in Washington and in Sofia,” it said.

Last week, the morning after the television debate Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry summoned Bulgaria’s ambassador in Kyiv to express its displeasure at Radev’s comment during the debate.

In a statement later on November 22, the presidency said that Radev “has repeatedly stated that the annexation of Crimea is a breach of international law. From a legal point of view, Crimea belongs to Ukraine and our country has repeatedly stated its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

But at the same time, as pointed out by Radev during the debate, Crimea was under Russia’s control at this time and the issue could not be resolved in a forcible manner, the presidency’s statement said.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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