site.btaUPDATED Ukrainian President Zelenskyy Thanks Bulgaria for Its Support and Protection of Ukrainians
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in Sofia on Thursday: "I want to thank you, Bulgaria, for the support and protection of our people." He spoke at a briefing after meeting with Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel.
It is very important that amid this moral crisis in Europe, Bulgaria is acting as a defender and opposes the policy of genocide that Russia is pursuing against Ukraine's independence, President Zelenskyy said.
Zelenskyy thanked for the support Bulgaria provides in the field of defence. "This is a package for defence, not offence. This is a package for parents to protect their children," the Ukrainian President said, adding that at the beginning of the war Russian soldiers raped Ukrainian children, there was mass torture and mass funerals. Zelenskyy said the Russians used rockets to fire on civilians, and today Ukrainians were killed on the border with Poland, a NATO member state.
"Everyone has the right to protect their children. If a man invades you, you will defend your children, otherwise you will lose them," Zelenskyy said. He stressed that the whereabouts of 200,000 Ukrainian children were unknown, how many of them had been deported, whether they were alive, etc. "Is this not enough for you to help us defend ourselves?" the Ukrainian President asked, adding that this is every country's right.
Zelenskyy said that he held very meaningful talks with Bulgarian PM Nikolay Denkov on the whole complex of bilateral relations, especially on the security issue. The Ukrainian President added the recent terrorist attack at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, "which polluted our common Black Sea and showed how fragile the situation in our region is." He said the two countries had agreed to significantly step up cooperation in the defence sector. Zelenskyy informed that he and Denkov had discussed in detail the assistance Bulgaria provides to Ukraine. "We will continue the discussion on the continuation of the treatment of Ukrainian soldiers in Bulgaria and the training of medical personnel in Bulgaria", Zelenskyy said.
The Ukrainian president has asked Bulgaria to take part in the reconstruction of Ukraine in the educational and environmental spheres. "We discussed cooperation in the field of energy as part of the architecture of stability in each country. We need to protect people from price crises", Zelenskyy said and expressed his satisfaction of energy becoming one of the priorities of cooperation between Bulgaria and Ukraine. He said that the two sides also discussed cooperation in the sphere of European and Atlantic Euro-integration and signed a declaration. "I would like to note Bulgaria's readiness to take part in these efforts," Zelenskyy said, noting that consultations had been launched at the level of advisers and ambassadors and pointed out that they had started discussing matters at the ambassadorial level in Bulgaria. Zelenskyy said that Bulgaria's ambassador to Ukraine had not yet been appointed, adding that he would comment on the issue at his meeting with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Bulgaria for its help and support. "Ukraine will never forget that in such a difficult moment for us, you are with us. I appreciate this and thank you very much," the Ukrainian President said.
After the meeting at the Council of Ministers and with President Rumen Radev at the Presidency, Volodymyr Zelenskyy will also meet with the leaderships of the parliamentary groups that have submitted the draft declaration in support of Ukraine's NATO membership.
Later in the day, PM Nikolay Denkov and Deputy Prime Minister Mariya Gabriel will host a discussion with the participation of Zelenskyy, ambassadors, politicians and representatives of civil society.