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Bulgarian president blames Ukraine for war, prime minister hits back

by The Kyiv Independent news desk July 16, 2023 11:27 AM 2 min read
Bulgarian President Rumen Radev gives a press statement as he arrives at the Europa Forum Wachau in Furth bei Göttweig, Austria, on June 24, 2023. (Photo by Alex Halada/APA/AFP via Getty Images)
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Bulgarian President Rumen Radev blasted Ukraine while speaking to journalists on July 14, claiming that Kyiv "insists on waging war," while "Europe pays for everything."  

Bulgaria is a member of both NATO and the EU, which has twice sent military aid to Ukraine.

Radev, however, has come out against weapons for Kyiv and sanctions for Moscow in the past, referred to the invasion as a "conflict," and called for peace talks between the two countries. In his recent statement, he said weapons aid only increases the number of victims.

In his previous visit to Sofia, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the war doesn't have a peaceful outcome unless Russia fully leaves Ukraine.

Ukraine's embassy in Sofia pointed out that Russia is the one that invaded, and Ukraine's goal is to have peace within its full territory. The embassy stated that narratives blaming Kyiv are consistent with Russian propaganda.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov had similar words for Radev, commenting that the Russian Federation is a bigger, more significant threat to NATO members, as well as peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region.

"Today he repeats some Russian statements that have nothing to do with what EU and NATO members present as a position," Denkov said.

He added that it's Bulgaria's national interest to end the war, for Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine, for Ukraine to become a member of NATO, and for Bulgaria to build up its defense capabilities.

In the recent Vilnius meeting, NATO countries promised that Ukraine would become a member in the future but did not say when or how Ukraine could achieve this.

Many observers have pointed out that this shows signs of disunity on Ukraine's membership among alliance members.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 16 – Why is Ukraine still not in NATO?
Episode #16 of our weekly video podcast “This Week in Ukraine” is dedicated to Ukrainian culture, the important role it plays in war, and why it has been a target of Russian dictators for decades. Host Anastasiia Lapatina is joined by the Kyiv Independent’s culture reporter Oleksiy Sorokin. Listen…
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