Radev warns of possible consequences for Bulgaria from escalation of Russia’s war on Ukraine

Vladimir Putin’s decision on “partial mobilisation” will increase the intensity of hostilities, escalate the conflict and is a security threat that has consequences difficult to predict, Bulgarian President Roumen Radev said on September 23.

Radev was speaking, in an address shown live on television, after holding a “consultative meeting” with caretaker government, defence and intelligence officials.

Radev, who did not refer to Putin by name but only by his office, said that it was unacceptable to “play the nuclear card again three decades after the end of the Cold War”. But this threat “as absurd as it sounds” could not be ignored, he said.

Referring to the “referendums” being held in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, he said: “Referendums in a combat zone, where shells fall next to the ballot boxes, are a legal absurdity and Bulgaria will not recognise them”.

He said that along with the escalation of the conflict, “the risks for our region, for Europe and the world are also growing”.

Radev reiterated the official Bulgarian view that while there currently is no direct military threat to Bulgaria’s security, risks were being assessed and measures being taken by the caretaker government to minimise them.

“Bulgaria is working hard to guarantee its security, by strengthening the national defence capacity and fulfilling its commitments in the collective security system of the (Nato) Alliance”.

He said that Bulgaria supported the European Union’s sanctions regime.

The escalation of the conflict could affect not only gas supplies, but also oil supplies and fuel production in Bulgaria, the operation of large power stations, and deliveries by sea, he said, adding that this could deepen the economic and social crises.

This was why it was so important for Bulgaria to have a functioning Parliament and a regular government, Radev said, referring to Bulgaria’s October 2 early parliamentary elections.

“Now is the time for unification and for the parties to overcome demagoguery and personal attacks. Now is the time to find out how Parliament and the government will lead the Bulgarians through the hard winter,” he said.

“This is the time to hear from the parties that have the ambition to govern, how they will overcome the political crisis and what they will agree on in order to achieve a governing majority,” Radev said.

The meeting was attended by caretaker Prime Minister and ministers and deputy ministers from various ministries, as well as representatives of the Defence Chief, Interior Ministry, State Agency for National Security, State Intelligence Agency and Military Intelligence.

Earlier on September 23, caretaker Defence Minister Dimitar Stoyanov told reporters: “We have increased surveillance and intelligence in the eastern part of the country.”

Stoyanov said that Russia’s “partial mobilisation” poses a risk to Bulgaria’s national security, but emphasised that there was no threat of direct involvement of Bulgaria in the conflict for now.

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