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President Volodymyr Zelensky meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov (R) in Kyiv on Feb. 26, 2024. (President Volodymyr Zelensky/Twitter)
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Bulgaria halted Russian oil imports this week as part of the European Union's ban on Russian oil, thereby ending a two-year embargo exemption, the Bulgarian news outlet BGNES reported on March 1.

The E.U. imposed an embargo on Russian oil imports two years ago. Bulgaria was granted a two-year exemption that was meant to last until the end of this year. The Bulgarian parliament adopted a new timeline late last year to end its crude imports from Russia.

Bulgaria stopped its Russian imports entirely on March 1.

Earlier this week, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov met with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.  

Initially a hesitant partner, Bulgaria has become increasingly supportive of Ukraine as the war has progressed. The Balkan country took a decisively pro-Kyiv stance and committed arms supplies to Ukraine, despite opposition from Bulgarian President Rumen Radev (not to be confused with the country's energy minister of the same name).

Zelensky thanked Denkov for "fruitful and practical talks" and expressed his appreciation for Bulgaria's support in helping "to expand trade flows and restore normal shipping in the Black Sea and Danube regions."

As Bulgaria's government increasingly turns away from its historical ally Russia, it continues to face issues with Russian intelligence infiltration at home.

Bulgaria's security service announced on the morning of Feb. 26 that it had banned two Russian citizens from entering the EU over their suspected role in intelligence operations in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria’s Soviet stockpiles and large defense industry may be key to Ukraine’s success
Bulgaria has had to walk a fine line, trying to covertly support Ukraine without provoking Russia. The Balkan state has been historically influenced by Moscow. Opinions on Ukraine are split among its 6.7 million people, many of whom buy into Kremlin propaganda. The new coalition government elected…
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8:28 PM

FT: Russia may be gearing up for large-scale offensive against Ukraine.

Russian forces may be preparing for a large-scale offensive in late spring or summer, aiming to capture more land in Ukraine's partially-occupied Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, the Financial Times reported on April 13, citing unnamed Ukrainian and Western officials.
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