The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine summoned Ambassador of Bulgaria to Ukraine Kostadin Kodzhabashev because of the statement made by President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev that the temporarily occupied Crimea belongs to Russia.

As the Ministry’s press service informs, the Foreign Ministry expects the President of Bulgaria to refute his statement on the Crimean peninsula.

“The Ukrainian side conveyed to the Ambassador the position of our state on incorrectness and unacceptability of the statements by President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev regarding Crimea during yesterday’s pre-election TV debates… The words of the incumbent President of Bulgaria do not contribute to the development of good neighbourly relations between Ukraine and Bulgaria, and are sharply dissonant with Sofia’s official position on supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders,” reads the statement.

As noted, Ambassador Kodzhabashev assured Bulgaria’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, Crimea’s status as an integral part of our Ukraine’s territory, and efforts to de-occupy the peninsula, in particular through Bulgaria’s participation in the Crimea Platform.

The European Union also commented on Radev’s statement.

“The European position on Crimea is very clear since 2014 and has been reinforced and repeated by the EU countless times since. From the point of view of the European Union and its 27 Member States, Crimea is Ukraine. Crimea is Ukrainian territory that was illegally annexed in violation of international law by Russia,” said Peter Stano, Spokesperson of the European Commission for the Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

As a reminder, incumbent president of Bulgaria Rumen Radev declared that the occupied Crimea actually belongs to the Russian Federation. He voiced this opinion on 18 November during a TV debate on the eve of the second round of the presidential election, which will take place on Sunday, 21 November.

At the same time, his opponent, Anastas Gerdzhikov, called Crimea Ukrainian territory.

The incumbent President of Bulgaria also stated that sanctions against Russia were ineffective. According to Gerdzhikov, sanctions should not be lifted until the human rights problem in Russia is resolved.

Currently, Rumen Radev, who is supported by the opposition party We Continue the Change and several other political forces, is a presidential hopeful. In the first round, he was supported by 49.42% of voters. Anastas Gerdzhikov, nominated by the ruling GERB party of former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, garnered the support of less than 23% of voters.

Bohdan Marusyak

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