April 19. 2024. 7:46

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Bulgarian Defence Ministry: Russia committing systematic war crimes in Ukraine

The Russian army is committing systematic war crimes in Ukraine, according to one of the conclusions in the State of Defence and the Armed Forces of Bulgaria’s 2022 report, which was approved and made public by the Council of Ministers on Monday.

The report identifies Russian military aggression as the most immediate threat to global peace. Increased activation of Russian subversive hybrid activity, cyber security risks, and energy use as an active weapon in a military-political campaign are also mentioned. Increased risks are also noted in the Black Sea, the Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus.

This comes amidst the systematic pro-Russian positions of Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, who appointed the caretaker government currently in power.

“The unjustified war in Ukraine, which was started in complete violation of international law, caused damage of particularly large proportions to all spheres of social and economic life. The Russian armed forces committed systematic war crimes. This full-scale armed conflict has a significant impact not only on Ukraine and the region but in a global aspect,” the Bulgarian Defence Ministry wrote.

According to the document, the war led to the expansion of Russian hybrid sabotage against NATO and EU countries.

“The purpose of these actions is aimed primarily at creating domestic political destabilisation and public opposition; impeding decisions to strengthen the Union’s deterrence and defence potential; reducing solidarity and support for Ukraine and the provision of timely and effective military assistance; continuing dependence on Russian energy supplies,” the report says.

“Bulgaria was also subject to systemic Russian hybrid impacts, including through unilateral interruption of gas supplies, to influence sovereign national strategic decision-making,” it added.

A destructive role was played by indirect attempts by Russia to create a second zone of instability, taking advantage of the existing problems and contradictions in the Balkans, the authors of the document write. According to the “Republic of North Macedonia, constitutional changes are being delayed, including due to persistent anti-Bulgarian socio-political stereotypes,” which “negatively affects the launch of negotiations for the country’s accession to the EU.”

“The potential for destabilisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina remains as a result of the separatist initiatives of the Bosnian Serb leaders, supported by the Kremlin. The strong Russian influence also remains in Serbia,” the report added.

Support for Ukraine is embedded in the official document, stating that Bulgaria stands in solidarity with Ukraine and supports its legitimate efforts and actions to oppose Russian military aggression, including by providing military assistance.

The main conclusions of the report, dedicated to the Bulgarian army, are related to the need for increased requirements for the army’s defence capabilities, due to the fundamentally changed security environment. The report concludes that the country must be a responsible and effective NATO ally.

(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)