PM: Bulgaria backs EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine

Bulgaria is a very clear partner in the EU and Nato and is in solidarity with the EU’s position on Ukraine and with the sanctions prepared in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recognition of the Donbas “republics”, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov told reporters on February 23.

Bulgaria believes in the territorial integrity of Ukraine and believes that any country, including Russia, that enters with tanks is in violation of international law, Petkov said.

“It is absurd to think that these provinces are acting on their own,” he said.

Petkov said that if gas supplies from Russia stop, Bulgaria would stop exporting electricity, so that its own needs were met.

“If we enter a scenario in which gas is 100 per cent cut off to Bulgaria, this will be our measure so that households have energy,” Petkov said.

“The good news, however, is that this pipeline supplies both Serbia and Hungary, and these are still Russia’s strategic partners, so the chances of reaching that point are slim,” he said.

He expressed hope that the gas connection with Greece would be ready by the summer and then Bulgaria would be able to import liquefied gas.

Petkov said that he discussed this matter on a weekly basis with his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

On February 23, Bulgaria’s National Assembly turned down a proposal by the opposition GERB-UDF parliamentary group for Petkov to be heard on the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, speaking on February 22 after EU ministers gave their political agreement for a new package of sanctions against Russia, said: “This solid package contains a number of calibrated measures”.

“It is a clear response to these violations of international law by the Kremlin,” Von der Leyen said.

The sanctions directly target individuals and companies involved in these actions, she said.

“They target banks that finance the Russian military apparatus and contribute to the destabilisation of Ukraine. We are also banning trade between the two breakaway regions and the EU – as we have done after the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.

“And finally, we are limiting the Russian government´s ability to raise capital on the EU’s financial markets. We will make it as difficult as possible for the Kremlin to pursue its aggressive policies,” said Von der Leyen, who welcomed Germany’s decision to halt the approval process for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

“If Russia continues to escalate this crisis that it has created, we are ready to take further action in response,” she said.

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