Bulgaria is ready to repair Ukrainian military equipment in its factories, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said in Kyiv on April 28 after talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Petkov led a Bulgarian delegation to the Ukrainian capital, visiting Bucha, Borodyanka and Irpin, places where Russian forces are accused of massacres and other gross human rights abuses of Ukrainian civilians.
The Bulgarian Prime Minister had announced the visit as part of attempts to end the rift in the ruling coalition over the issue of Bulgaria supplying military equipment to Ukraine, but the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which opposes Bulgaria arming Ukraine, declined to send a delegate. Petkov was accompanied by representatives of the three partners in the coalition who do support providing military equipment to Ukraine.
Zelenskyy, responding to Petkov’s offer for Bulgaria to repair Ukrainian military equipment, said that he relied on such assistance.
“This is important for us, and it will be beneficial for Bulgarian companies,” Zelenskyy said, according to a report from Kyiv by Bulgarian National Radio.
“I want to thank you for the leadership you have shown not only for Ukraine but for the whole world. Ukraine will win this war and all democracies will stand behind you – I have no doubt that this is the only thing that can happen,” Petkov told a joint news conference with Zelenskyy.
Petkov said that there were very many common areas of support.
“Bulgaria and the Balkans countries should buy Ukrainian electricity, which would help your economy a lot,” Petkov said.
In a subsequent interview with Nova Televizia, Petkov said that Ukraine was ready to export cheap electricity to Bulgaria, because it currently had more production than it needs, and in the meantime, Ukraine needed fresh capital.
“So next week they will send experts to Bulgaria to see this opportunity for electricity exports and how it can pass through Romania to come to our country,” Petkov told Nova.
Petkov told the joint news conference: “We will be happy for [Bulgaria’s sea port of] Varna to become a logistics hub for your wheat and sunflower”.
He said that currently at the port of Odesa, there was more than 10 million tons of grain and sunflower “and we are currently considering how to make Bulgaria a central hub for exports”.
Bulgaria could be an instrument for energy security of Ukraine and could supply gas from terminals for liquefied gas from Greece and Turkey, giving the two countries an additional supply of fuel, Petkov said.
Petkov also assured Zelenskyy of Bulgaria’s support for Ukraine’s path to membership of the European Union.
Zelenskyy said that he would be glad for Bulgaria to be part of the reconstruction of Ukraine.
Petkov said that in Ukraine, Russia was conducting a war against civilians, and he had been shocked to see the bombed-out apartment buildings that had no military character.
He said that it was a question of a value system, of which part of the world Bulgaria wanted to be: “The one that closes its eyes to these things and says that we are not interested, or the one that says it is unacceptable. This is happening in Europe in 2022,” urging Bulgaria’s Parliament to vote next week in favour of military technical assistance for Urkaine.
Earlier on April 28, Petkov told reporters that currently, there were 114 Russian diplomats in Bulgaria.
“I wonder what these people are doing in Bulgaria. I suggest looking at these people and having a much more symmetrical representation. Our mission in Russia is less than 10 people at the moment,” Petkov said.
(Photo: President of Ukraine’s website)
For The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of Russia’s war on Ukraine, please click here.
Please support independent journalism by clicking on the orange button below. For as little as three euro a month or the equivalent in other currencies, you can support The Sofia Globe via patreon.com: