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site.btaPM Denkov, Ministers Visit Kyiv to Demonstrate Support for Ukraine’s Fight with Aggressor

PM Denkov, Ministers Visit Kyiv to Demonstrate Support for Ukraine’s Fight with Aggressor
PM Denkov, Ministers Visit Kyiv to Demonstrate Support for Ukraine’s Fight with Aggressor
Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov visits Kyiv, February 26, 2024 (Photo by Council of Ministers)

"By supporting Ukraine, we are protecting ourselves," Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov told a joint news briefing with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy here on Monday. Denkov arrived in the Ukrainian capital on Monday morning to emphasize that his government stands firmly on the side of justice and will continue to defend the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. 

Bulgaria is part of the efforts of the European Union, NATO and the international democratic community in support of Ukraine.  

The Prime Minister was accompanied by Justice Minister Atanas Slavov, Energy Minister Rumen Radev, Environment Minister Julian Popov, Deputy Foreign Minister Tihomir Stoychev and Deputy Defence Minister Stanimir Georgiev, as well as Defence Chief Admiral Emil Eftimov.

"Thank you for inviting me so as to be able to see with my eyes and feel with my heart your unjust suffering, but also your heroism and determination to win the future you long for. Bulgaria is experiencing with you the nightmare of devastation, suffering and loss. We saw it in the eyes of the thousands of refugees to whom we opened our homes and our hearts two years ago. We heard them in the stories of our compatriots from Tavria and Bessarabia. Today, I felt them with my senses in the Solomianskyi District," Denkov said.

In Kyiv, Bulgarian Prime Minister Denkov visited the Solomianskyi district which was destroyed by Russan shelling over the Christmas holidays. 

He said: “Today's date marks another somber anniversary. Ten years ago, the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol marked the beginning of Russia's continuous aggression against Ukraine and opened the way to the full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022. Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, which has been going on for two years now, is a war against Europe, against the entire democratic world. It is now clear that Putin's goals extend beyond Ukraine". 

According to Denkov, "the ambitions of Russian aggression also pose a direct threat to Bulgaria's national security."

"Bulgaria stands unconditionally on Ukraine's side in this unjust and brutal military aggression. On the side of human life and dignity, freedom, democracy, and international legal order. For more than 700 days we have witnessed the horrors of war waged by the Putin regime with the unacceptable aim of subjugating or destroying an independent and free country at the heart of Europe. And for more than 700 days we have witnessed the heroism of the Ukrainian people, who are fighting for their freedom, for peace in Europe and at home, for the protection of the prosperity we have achieved," the Bulgarian Prime Minister said further.

He assured his hosts that the Bulgarian Government and the parliamentary majority were working steadfastly to ensure the maximum possible political, military, diplomatic, humanitarian and material support for Ukraine.

"We remain committed to the implementation of Ukraine's Peace Formula to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace based on the principles of the UN Charter and international law. We also stand ready to cooperate in the context of the International Coalition for the Return of Ukrainian Children Illegally Deported and Forcibly Relocated to Russia, of which Bulgaria is a founding member. Russia cannot win this war. And one day justice will be done for all war crimes against the Ukrainian people. I call on the international democratic community to remain united in its support for Ukraine, so that day will come sooner! Dear Ukrainians, Mr President, Bulgaria remains in solidarity with Ukraine in its struggle for a just peace - for Ukraine and for all democratic peoples," Denkov added.

"Bulgaria is among the leading countries in the world in terms of the GDP share it contributes in aid to Ukraine, in this difficult battle that Ukraine is fighting. This can be demonstrated by numbers, by the specific equipment that has been provided, by the packages that have been sent and the packages that we are preparing. Every time we see our Ukrainian partners, they thank us for what we are doing for them," the Prime Minister said.

"Whether Bulgaria will sign a bilateral security agreement with Ukraine will be discussed and decided. This will also require a resolution of the National Assembly," Denkov added. "Aid to Ukraine is aid to Europe and Bulgaria," he said. "We are continuously checking Ukraine's needs and our capabilities," Denkov said, referring to the military technological assistance that Sofia is providing to Kyiv. "We have not stopped for a moment seeking opportunities for support," Denkov said. "Part of this support is our country's involvement in the efforts of the international community to find the proper legal form to punish those responsible for the tragedy and suffering of the Ukrainian people," he added.

"One of the main topics we discussed [with French President Emmanuel Macron] was precisely European assistance and joint efforts to support Ukraine," the Prime Minister said about an international conference in Paris on Monday. Denkov was also invited to the meeting in Paris but, because of his visit to Ukraine, Defence Minister Todor Tagarev attended the conference.

For his part, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Prime Minister Denkov for the support Bulgaria has provided to Ukraine throughout the full-scale Russian aggression. "We appreciate the fact that Bulgaria stands with us and with the whole of united Europe," Zelenskyy said. The Ukrainian President highlighted the productive talks held with the Bulgarian Prime Minister earlier in the day. Zelenskyy had briefed Denkov on the situation on the front and the priority needs. The Ukrainian President also specifically highlighted the joint efforts in the Black Sea and Danube region for expanding trade flows and restoring normal shipping.

Denkov and Zelenskyy also discussed cooperation in the energy sector. "We appreciate Bulgaria's support for our progress towards the European and Euro-Atlantic community: this strengthens our common security," the Ukrainian President added.

"Ukraine is keenly interested in joint production with Bulgaria and with countries that have a great potential in the defence sector. This would be a quality joint production that could create jobs and generate money. In this way, Ukraine's deficiency needs can be made up. We are talking not only about wartime but also about the post-war period," Zelenskyy said. "Ukraine has received only 30% of the 1 million shells promised by the European Union," he added. Asked for an assessment of the situation on the front, the President replied: "in the language of our military, the situation is complicated but completely under control."

As a gift from Denkov and his delegation, Zelenskyy received a replica of Khan Kubrat's sword, the Prime Minister told their joint news briefing in the Ukrainian capital.

Denkov told Zelensky that this gift carries two symbols. "One is that freedom is achieved with a sword. The second is that Khan Kubrat, who lived in the lands of Ukraine and who is the first ruler of Bulgaria recorded in history, showed that to be able to succeed you have to be united," the Prime Minister said.

He was referring to a legend, according to which Khan Kubrat summoned his five sons by his death bed around 665 AD. He showed them a bundle of sticks bound together. The Khan pulled one of the sticks out and easily broke it, but when he tried to break the entire bundle he failed. This was the testament he left to his sons: that if they stay united, nothing can break them.

Denkov said further that the gift symbolized "European efforts to help one of the European nations in difficulty". "This is our sign, in addition to everything else we are doing, that we are together with you in this battle. We will be together as long as it takes," the Bulgarian head of government added.

The sword, a replica of which was presented to the Ukrainian leader, is part of a gold treasure presumably buried with Kubrat. The treasure, which consisted of a total of 800 artefacts (25 kg gold and 50 kg silver): regalia, trophies and gifts of honour from the rulers of Iran and Byzantium, was found in a mound at the village of Mala Pereshchepyna near Poltava (present-day Ukraine) in 1912. The original is kept at the State Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia.

Attending a conference in Kyiv held as part of Ukraine's Peace Formula, Prime Minister Denkov said it is unacceptable for borders to be changed by brute force and that war crimes must be punished. "Bulgaria condemns the aggressor, the violations of international law, the atrocities and crimes and against humanity," said he.

He said that Bulgaria respects the Ukrainians who are fighting for their freedom and protecting the European ideal for democracy, and won't forget those who gave their life for the sovereignty of their homeland

He expressed Bulgaria's firm position in support of universal human rights, including the right of the citizens of Ukraine to live peacefully and freely in peace.

He condemned the crimes against identity in the Russian-occupied territories: denial of the right to mother tongue, rewriting of history through monuments and textbooks, renaming of institutions, seizure of church properties and religious persecution. "The aggressor is trying to occupy not only territory but minds as well," Denkov said.

He said that Bulgaria supports Ukraine, "not because it stands between us and a potential greedy invader, but because it is our moral obligation". "We believe that every child, in every country, has the right to be free from the trauma of war. "To be raised by their parents and not kidnapped to a foreign country and suffer crimes against their ancestry, identity and the history of their people," Denkov said.

In the war to which it is subjected, Ukraine is defending itself, but also all of us and we are grateful, stressed Acad. Denkov. 

"Bulgaria stands by Ukraine and will do so as long as necessary," the Prime Minister concluded. 

In Kyiv, the Bulgarian government leader also met with his Ukrainian counterpart Denys Shmyhal and the two discussed practical aspects of cooperation. 

/NF/

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By 00:47 on 23.04.2024 Today`s news

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