Bulgaria has always followed the single European position, and will support new sanctions against Russia, caretaker Defence Minister Dimitar Stoyanov said on September 23.
EU member states are reported to be discussing new sanctions in response to the “referendums” in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s escalation of the war by announcing a “partial mobilisation” and threatening the use of nuclear weapons.
Stoyanov said that there was no information whether Bulgarian citizens who have Russian passports had been mobilised in Russia for the war in Ukraine.
Deputy Foreign Minister Kostadin Kozhabashev told a September 23 news conference that the “partial mobilisation” and “referendums” were a further attempt to legitimise Russian’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kozhabashev said that EU and Nato partners should strengthen support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and the so-called referendums and their results would not be recognised.
The caretaker government is about to prepare a mechanism for the reception of Russian citizens who would seek refuge in Bulgaria, he said.
He said that according to Bulgaria’s ambassador in Moscow, no Bulgarians had sought assistance to return to Bulgaria.
A statement after a special meeting of EU foreign ministers on September 22 said that the EU “condemns in the strongest possible terms the latest escalation by Russia of its illegal, unprovoked and unjustified aggression against Ukraine”
“In spite of numerous calls by the international community on Russia to immediately stop its military aggression against Ukraine, the Russian leadership has regrettably decided otherwise,” the statement said.
It said that on September 21, Russia had chosen a path of confrontation by announcing a partial mobilisation in Russia, by supporting the organisation of illegal “referenda” in the Ukrainian territories currently occupied by Russia and by threatening again with the use of weapons of mass destruction.
“The EU reiterates its strongest condemnation of the plans to organise illegal ‘referenda’ which aim at the annexation by Russia parts of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia regions – areas of Ukraine currently occupied by Russia. These illegal ‘referenda’ are another blatant violation of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and a serious violation of the UN Charter.”
The statement said that Russia’s actions in Ukraine continue threatening peace and security in Europe and worldwide and have severe global consequences in the form of increased food insecurity and rising energy prices.
“Russia, its political leadership, and all those involved in organising these “referenda” as well as in other violations of international law and international humanitarian law in Ukraine will be held accountable, and additional restrictive measures against Russia will be brought forward as soon as possible in coordination with our partners.”
The EU and its member states would never recognise these areas as anything but a part of Ukraine and would continue to support Ukraine’s effort to restore its territorial integrity as long as necessary, the statement said.
A North Atlantic Council statement posted on Nato’s website on September 22 said: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the plan to hold so-called ‘referenda’ on joining the Russian Federation in the Ukrainian regions partly controlled by the Russian military”.
As the UN General Assembly reaffirmed in its resolution “Aggression against Ukraine” adopted on March 2 2022, no territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal, the statement said.
“We call on all states to reject Russia’s blatant attempts at territorial conquest,” the statement said.
It said that these Russian decisions, including on a partial military mobilisation, are a further escalation in Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine.
“We continue to reject Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric. Russia bears full responsibility for the war, the immense suffering its aggression is bringing upon the Ukrainian people, as well as the cost of its war including for the Russian people now being mobilised. Russia has it in its hands to end the conflict.”
Russia must immediately stop this war and withdraw from Ukraine, the statement said.
“We reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, and for Ukraine’s inherent right to self-defence.
Nato Allies remain resolute in providing political and practical support to Ukraine as it continues to defend itself against Russia’s aggression, it said.
“Nato is a defensive Alliance and will continue to strive for peace, security, and stability in the whole of the Euro-Atlantic area. We stand united to defend and protect every inch of Allied territory.”
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