Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said in a video address on February 27 that Bulgaria is joining other EU and Nato countries that will support Ukraine with humanitarian aid and military logistical support.
Referring to the invasion of Ukraine ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Petkov – who was flanked by Defence Chief Admiral Emil Eftimov – said that currently, several thousand young soldiers had died on both sides.
At the same time, there were many civilian casualties, and a large part of the civilian population in Ukraine was hiding in metro stations and expected their homes to be destroyed any day.
“The Bulgarian government cannot keep its eyes closed when we see civilians at such great risk in this fratricidal war,” Petkov said.
He said that it was very unfortunate that a leader (Putin) was “sitting somewhere safe at a long table, and because of his horrific decisions, young soldiers on both sides are now dying”.
Petkov said that the humanitarian aid that Bulgaria would send to Ukraine would include clothes, shoes, tents, sheets, blankets “to make sure that Ukrainian citizens feel the support of our country”.
No victim and no person in Ukraine should feel alone in this fratricidal war, he said.
On February 28, the Bulgarian Red Cross would open a fundraising account, Petkov said. He said that the funds also would be used for refugees coming from Ukraine.
“People who come from Ukraine must be integrated as soon as possible,” Petkov said.
He said that talks already had been held with employers, who had provided lists of how many workers from Ukraine they could hire.
“We call on the Russian leadership to renounce the sinister activities it is currently carrying out. But Putin must know that the whole world condemns his actions,” Petkov said.
He did not disclose details of the military-logistical support. Military-logistical assistance does not mean that Bulgaria will provide weapons, but will provide other forms of support, for example, bulletproof vests, or medical care.
Evtimov said that Bulgaria’s armed forces were carrying out planned activities to increase their readiness to respond to crises in national and allied formats.
“The deteriorating security environment in the Black Sea region has necessitated measures to respond to the crisis. Formations of all types of armed forces and commands are carrying out events to raise situational awareness, to make informed decisions,” Evtimov said.
There were preparations for response to actions threatening the independence of Bulgaria, he said.
Notably not present in the video address was Defence Minister Stefan Yanev, who has stirred controversy by opposing terming what is happening in Ukraine as a war.
Separately, Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Kornelia Ninova – a deputy prime minister in the quadripartite governing coalition – said that the Bulgarian government had not decided to supply Ukraine with weapons.
On February 27, the Bulgarian Socialist Party adopted a declaration condemning the conflict in Ukraine and the Russian military offensive, but opposing sanctions, saying that they were ineffective and would damage the Bulgarian economy.
Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska said that about 50 Bulgarians were stranded in Moscow because of Bulgaria closing its air space to Russian aircraft and Russia’s reciprocal closure of its air space to Bulgarian air carriers.
Genchovska said that Bulgaria’s embassy in Moscow had been ordered to provide accommodation for the stranded Bulgarians and to ensure their transportation by land to countries neighbouring Russia – probably to Latvia and Estonia.
On the afternoon of February 27, there was a large protest at the Soviet Army Monument in Sofia, with protesters spray-painting “murderers”, “occupiers” and “freedom for Ukraine” on the monument. Posters were placed with Putin’s face, on which was inscribed “killer”.
Reporters at the scene said that police stood by without interfering.
The monument, which is the subject of a procedure to remove it from the Sofia city centre, commemorates the September 1944 Red Army invasion of Bulgaria.
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