site.btaBTA Opens Press Club in Odessa, Ukraine

BTA Opens Press Club in Odessa, Ukraine
BTA Opens Press Club in Odessa, Ukraine
BTA opens a press club in Odessa, Ukraine, June 24, 2023 (BTA Photo)

The Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) opened Saturday a National Press Club in Odessa, Ukraine. This is the first permanent bureau of a Bulgarian media outlet in Ukrainian Bessarabia, which is home to some 200,000 ethnic Bulgarians.

In his opening remarks, BTA Director General Kiril Valchev said that having a BTA press club with a permanent correspondent in Odessa is a sign of support from Bulgaria for the Bulgarians in Ukraine. "There are 200,000 - 250,000 of them here, and perhaps many more, if we count all those with Bulgarian roots from generations back. And we have to be here - passing on knowledge about their difficult days during the war in Ukraine and trying to provide them with knowledge about Bulgaria. Because war does not stop life," said Valchev.

"News about the Bulgarians in Ukraine, which will be regularly present in the BTA news flow with the possibility to reach all media outlets in Bulgaria, and through the BTA English service, the whole world, will not be limited to Bessarabia, where the Bulgarian diaspora has been concentrated since the 18th century, but will also come from other parts in Ukraine, including those currently under Russian occupation. The news will cover all Bulgarian organizations in Odessa, Bessarabia and other parts of Ukraine," Valchev said. 

He went on to say: "We begin with one correspondent, Svetlana Dragneva, but BTA is ready to expand the team with contributors to fully cover all events of all Ukrainian Bulgarians. We are opening the BTA press club on a symbolic day when the Bulgarian Orthodox Church - whose Holy Synod asked us to bring here a consecrated icon of St. Clement of Ohrid, and the Rila Monastery asked us to bring icons of the patron saint of the Bulgarian people St. John of Rila and the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius - celebrates the birth of St. John the Baptist in a feast day called Enyovden in Bulgaria".

Valchev used references to the Bible in his speech: "St. John the Baptist prepared the ways of Christ which, according to the Gospel, lead to salvation through the forgiveness of sins. This should be an example to Bulgarians everywhere, including here, where, as in any free society, there are contradictions and quarrels, that we must find a way to forgive one another in order to go forward together stronger. And Odessa is a city that has given much strength to Bulgaria through its sons who found refuge here: Hristo Botev, Georgi Rakovski, Vasil Aprilov, Ivan Vazov, whose memorial plaques are all over the city. We can read about them and about the other Bulgarians who connected their lives with these lands, in the special issue of the LIK magazine dedicated to the Bulgarians in Ukraine, which we presented in Odessa on March 3, and today we present in English."

Valchev said that news about the Bulgarians from Ukraine will be able to reach the Ukrainian media through Ukrinform - the national news agency of Ukraine, which can freely use BTA's feeds after the two agencies sign a cooperation agreement today. 

The BTA Press Club will also organize information events on various opportunities - from aid for war refugees to training for students at Bulgarian universities and jobs in Bulgaria. "Its doors are also open to present events of all local Bulgarian organizations," the BTA Director General said. 

He announced that BTA is already planning joint events with them - a concert by the supergroup "The Foundation" for the Day of Bessarabian Bulgarians on October 29 and an exhibition dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the rescue of Bulgarian Jews.

Valchev said he was reminded the other day of a legend about Churchill saying, as World War II was in full swing and he was asked to cut funding for the arts, "Then what are we fighting for?!". "This is also a message to all other media that the war is not a theatrical festival, which is usually covered at the beginning and at the end, but we need a permanent narrative from the scene with permanent correspondents," Valchev added. 

"We hope that the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA), in which BTA and Ukrinform are together, will finally follow through on its decision to hold an annual conference in Ukraine, because it is journalists who should not be afraid to be in dangerous places to report the real news," he said.

The Director General announced that next year it is in Odessa that BTA plans to organize the World Meeting of Bulgarian Media - in June, as a sign of respect to the Bulgarians who organize the commemoration of Bulgarian Khan Kubrat, whose treasure was found this month in Malaya Pereshchepina in Ukraine.

"We hope peace will be restored by then and we can go there together. There will be no songs at today's opening event, unlike the opening of the BTA other press clubs, because days of war are better suited to quiet prayer. That is why we have invited the writer Teodora Dimova to present her new book Prayer for Ukraine for the first time. With her presence she sets an example to all, including Bulgarian leaders, who do not dare to come to the Bulgarians in Ukraine these days for fear of the missiles," said Valchev. 

He went on to commend the courage of the Consul General of Bulgaria in Odessa, Svetoslav Ivanov, and thanked him, as well as Foreign Ministers Ivan Kondov and Maria Gabriel, for their help in making the necessary arrangements for the opening of the BTA press club.

Valchev also thanked the local and state government of Odessa for their assistance.

/NF/

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By 16:12 on 18.06.2024 Today`s news

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