June 14. 2024. 2:18

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Bulgarian president says Ukraine’s victory over Russia ‘impossible’

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev has described Ukraine’s victory over Russia as “impossible” and linked the two-year war with Russia to the assassination attempt on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico.

“Every day that this war continues is disastrous for Ukraine, Russia and all of us. This inevitably affects all elections – in Europe, in the USA, and everywhere in the world. We will choose in this and the next election between war and peace. Every citizen is obliged to understand this,” Radev said on Saturday.

Asked by a journalist what signal the attempted assassination of Fico sent to Europe, the Bulgarian president spoke of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“It is unacceptable to present the continuation of the war and the impossible victory over Russia as the only possible solution,” declared Radev.

He said it is extremely dangerous for passions between Russia and Ukraine to flare up in Europe as well and for “voices for peace to be greeted with shots”, but did not comment on the profile of the Slovak citizen arrested for the attempted murder, which leads to radical pro-Russian groups.

A month before the assassination attempt, Fico condemned the Kremlin’s aggression and supported Ukraine during a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Denis Shmyhal, in Bratislava.

“The attempted assassination of a European prime minister by a radicalised fanatic, because of his support for peace, is indicative of this ingrained intolerance of dissent and hatred. Many politicians, parties and media have contributed to this with their portrayal of every different voice as pro-Russian, which is extremely unfair and leads to all these negative consequences,” Radev added.

The Bulgarian president warned that if the war continues, Ukraine will be a “demographically devastated country, with completely destroyed infrastructure, industry, production, and this will have extremely serious consequences not only for Ukraine but also for the whole of Europe”.

Radev called for political efforts for peace, not for giving weapons: “With weapons, without weapons – we are going to a similar outcome. We have to realise that. The difference will be thousands of human casualties and a devastated country (Ukraine) for which recovery we will have to pay,” he said, adding that “it is inevitable”.

The Bulgarian president is a staunch opponent of sending military aid to Ukraine, although during his caretaker government (2021-2022), Bulgaria exported large quantities of weapons to Kyiv through intermediaries.

During his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Sofia in July 2023, Radev referred several times to the Russian invasion using the term “conflict”. Zelenskyy replied that the West and Bulgaria were helping Ukraine to prevent the war from spilling over.

“I want to tell you that your army, everything you have, will not be enough to fight the Russian Federation if it comes here (to Bulgaria). Not because your army is weak, you have a powerful army, and your people are good, but that would not be enough to fight a country of 160 million people. That is why it is good to give so that people can defend themselves, so that the war does not come to you, to the Poles, to the Romanians,” Zelensky said during his meeting with Radev on July 6, 2023.

Political experts expect Radev to enter Bulgarian party politics at the latest in 2027, when his second term as president ends, and become a decisive factor in Sofia.

(Krassen Nikolov | Euractiv.bg)

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