Ukrainian ambassador: Bulgaria’s contribution to international coalition to support Ukraine has significantly increased

With the formation of the new National Assembly of Bulgaria and the new government of Bulgaria, the country’s contribution to the international coalition to support Ukraine has significantly increased, Ukrainian ambassador Olesya Ilashchuk said in an interview with bTV.

The interview marked the second anniversary of Russia’s February 24 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Ilashchuk said that in the past year, Ukrainian-Bulgarian political dialogue had developed very dynamically and actively.

More than 60 political contacts at different levels had taken place, while in July 2023, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had visited Sofia.

“Bulgaria participates in all political initiatives to support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, actively contributes to the strengthening of the defence capability of our country within the framework of the EU and Nato,” Ilashchuk said.

“Ukraine and the Ukrainian people highly appreciate the political, military-technical, humanitarian and human assistance from Bulgaria. We are sincerely grateful for all kinds of help and support.”

Currently, Ukraine does not control about 20 per cent of its territory, she said.

“It is important to emphasize that in 2022, Ukraine liberated 50 per cent of the occupied territories from the Russian conquerors. These territories are a zone of legal arbitrariness and numerous crimes against the Ukrainian population.

“This includes torture, brutal killings, and forced deportation of civilians and children,” Ilashchuk said.

According to preliminary data, nearly 200 000 Ukrainian children, whom Ukraine is trying to identify, were illegally taken to Russia by the Russian authorities, she said.

Ilashchuk said that the number of officially confirmed cases of deportation of Ukrainian children is about 20 000: “If we return one child from Russia to Ukraine every day, it will take us 55 years”.

She said that it was almost impossible to describe in words the atmosphere of people’s lives in the conditions of modern technological warfare.

“It is impossible to describe the emotional and physical condition of our people. To understand it, you need to visit Ukraine for at least a few days.

“No matter how hard it is for everyone, every Ukrainian understands that the only option to end the war and the Russian terror must be the victory of Ukraine. There is no other option for the Ukrainians, because it would mean death and destruction.”

Ukrainians believe neither in hybrid peace talks nor in compromises with the Russians, Ilashchuk said: “Russia has violated and continues to violate all norms of international law. It has become a terrorist state and has become a major threat to the civilized world.”

Asked if the West was doing enough to strengthen Ukrainian forces, Ilashchuk said that Ukraine and the Ukrainians were really very grateful for all forms of help to combat Russia.

“The current level of arms supplies, the quantities and the dynamics, are not enough to drive Russia out of Ukraine. Perhaps the main reason is the unpreparedness of the West for a war of such proportions in Europe.

“In order to stop our common enemy, to restore peace, new mechanisms and new logistical solutions are needed. Therefore, Ukraine conducts a close and active dialogue with all partners of the anti-Putin coalition,” Ilashchuk said.

She said that since February 24 2022, almost 10 million Ukrainians had left their homes and gone to Europe.

About six million were forced to resettle in the western regions of Ukraine, fleeing the occupation by Russia, that is, they are internally displaced persons.

Nearly six million Ukrainians had already returned to Ukraine.

“About four million of our citizens are now abroad. Of them, more than 55 00 are in Bulgaria.

“We are very grateful to the government of Bulgaria for the help with the adaptation and integration of our compatriots. We hope that their rights and needs will be taken into account by the government when preparing the new programme to help Ukrainians who have the status of temporary protection in Bulgaria,” Ilashchuk said.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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