Recent announcements from Moscow escalate concerns, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said in a message on Twitter on September 21 in response to statements by Russian ruler Vladimir Putin about a “partial mobilisation” of military reservists and confirming Kremlin backing for “referendums” in Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine.
“Coupled with nuclear rhetoric and so-called referenda, these troubling developments for the global domain amplify the necessity of consistent support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity,” Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said.
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry’s message came several hours after Bulgaria’s caretaker Defence Minister, Dimitar Stoyanov, said that the events in Russia and the “partial mobilisation” announced by Putin, as well as the expected “referendums” in the Russian-controlled Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions of Ukraine were a risk to Bulgaria’s national security, but there was no direct threat.
The evening after Putin’s announcement saw large-scale arrests in Russian cities of those protesting against his statements, and reports of mass demand in Russia for air tickets out of the country, which came on top of condemnation from democratic governments and multi-national bodies around the world of what was seen as Putin’s escalation of the situation.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “It looks like he (Putin) is speaking in a measure of panic and desperation. Putin is doubling on a failing strategy.”
“By the threat of using nuclear, he is trying to intimidate Ukraine and all countries that support Ukraine. But he will fail. He has failed and he will fail again,” Borrell said.
“Threatening with nuclear weapons is a real danger to the whole world. The international community has to react in front of this threat,” he said.
Borrell said that the United Nations Security Council would meet and discuss the situation in Ukraine on September 22 in the light of this new scenario.
The EU foreign policy chief said that he was convening an extraordinary and ad-hoc informal meeting of the EU’s foreign ministers with the purpose “to agree on a common line”.
“And the common line – I am sure – could be summarised saying that we will not be intimidated and we will continue our full support for Ukrainian sovereignty and democracy, and continue working for this war to stop as soon as possible – before going into bigger challenges, before facing bigger threats, and before the international community has to react to such threats,” Borrell said.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a message on Twitter: “The only appropriate response to Putin’s belligerent threats is to double down on supporting Ukraine. More sanctions on Russia. More weapons to Ukraine. More solidarity with Ukrainians. More businesses pulling out of Russia. More determination to hold Russia accountable”.
(Photo: Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
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