Bulgarian Prime Minister Hopes Russia Will Release Ukrainian Sailors

December 14 (BTA correspondent Nikolay Jeliazkov) -
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov expressed hope here on
Friday that Russia will release at least the ordinary Ukrainian
sailors who were detained in the Kerch Strait clash between the
two countries. "This would help a lot in resolving the crisis,"
Borissov told Bulgarian journalists covering the European
Council in the Belgian capital. "Regardless of the internal
political problems that the two countries want to tackle, they
should end the conflict."

The Prime Minister noted: "Bulgaria is extremely vulnerable with
 regard to this conflict, not only in terms of the transit of
natural gas, but also due to its proximity across the Black
Sea." He added that a settlement of the conflict will contribute
 substantially to the implementation of the Minsk agreements. He
 recalled that on Thursday evening the EU leaders unanimously
approved an extension of the sanctions against Russia.

Discussing Brexit, Borissov said the European Council showed
again on Thursday evening that it has a positive attitude
towards London. "Now it is up to the Britons and their
Parliament to accept [the deal with the EU] or not. We did our
job. If you ask me whether I am optimistic, well, I am not. I
hope they prove me wrong," he commented.

The Bulgarian head of government stands firmly behind the
decision that migration issues in the EU should be tackled in a
comprehensive manner. He remarked: "Due to home policy problems,
 each country in Europe is trying to find its own separate
solution to these matters. As a frontline nation, Bulgaria is
doing a wonderful job, everyone acknowledges that." He voiced
hope for progress in the field of migration policy during the
remaining weeks of the Austrian Presidency of the EU Council. He
 was adamant that the relevant package of measures should not be
 split up because otherwise Bulgaria may find itself in a
situation where it not only stops the migrants from advancing
any further, but also has to take care of them.

Concerning the planned acquisition of new fighter jets for the
Bulgarian Air Force, the Prime Minister expects Bulgaria to be
offered better conditions. After talking to pilots, he is of the
 opinion that newly built F-16 Block 70 aircraft is far better
than any of the other offers, including used Eurofighters and
newly built Gripens. "There are commissions which are
considering these offers. I want to stress that I am not
intervening in any way, except that I want the best aircraft for
 our fighter fleet," Borissov said. He noted that air policing
is not the only duty of the Bulgarian Air Force. "We need combat
 aircraft that can engage in military action and prevail," he

Borissov also took a journalist's question about the Lozenets
Hospital in Sofia. He said he wants the hospital to be under the
 authority of the Health Ministry, not the Council of Ministers.
 A proposal to this end will be made to Parliament. The Prime
Minister said he thought that turning Lozenets into a children's
 hospital would be a good solution. LI/VE

Source: Brussels