SOFIA, Bulgaria — Ukraine on Saturday criticized Bulgaria's pro-Russian president over his remarks that Kyiv is to blame for Russia’s ongoing war and that supplying arms to Ukraine only prolongs the conflict.
President Rumen Radev had told reporters on Friday, during a news conference in which he spoke about the recent NATO summit, that he wanted “to make it clear that Ukraine insists on fighting this war.”
“But it should also be clear that the bill is paid by the whole of Europe,” he added.
The remarks by the pro-Russian leader are part of his continuing efforts to keep Bulgaria out of joint EU military support for Ukraine.
The Embassy of Ukraine in Sofia in a statement on Saturday said Kyiv was making all possible efforts to restore peace and rejected Radev’s stance that supplying arms to Ukraine fuels and prolongs the war.
Blaming the war on Ukraine, which “was treacherously attacked by its northern neighbor, is one of the most common supporting theses of Russian propaganda and hybrid warfare in Europe,” the embassy said.
It emphasized that the provision of defense funds to Ukraine does not lead to an increase in casualties, but means that more lives can be saved.
During the political crisis that had gripped EU and NATO member Bulgaria in the last two years, Radev has used his powers to appoint caretaker governments that shared his dissent over supplying arms to Kyiv. However, his efforts have bene undermined since a new pro-Western government was formed in June.
On Friday, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov was quick to counter Radev’s position and put the blame for Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his administration.
“On the contrary, the one who insists on fighting this war is the circle around Putin. They started this war," Denkov said.
"I say again: the quickest way to stop this war is for this same circle to call on their troops to get out,” the prime minister added.