The US Embassy in Sofia issued a statement on Monday expressing the “deep concerns” of Washington over the recent statements of Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, who was reelected during the weekend, in which he referred to Crimea as Russian.
In a televised debate with his opponent Gerdzhikov last week, Radev, whose victory was confirmed in Bulgaria’s presidential election run-off, said that “Crimea is Russian for the time being” when challenged to state his position on the peninsula.
Starting by saying that the Western sanctions against Russia did not bring a result, Radev noted that more pragmatic policy is needed since there has been no change in Russia’s policy for years now,
The Embassy pointed the clear and joint position of the US, EU, G7 and NATO that Crimea is Ukrainian territory despite Russia’s attempted annexation and the ongoing occupation of the strategic Black Sea peninsula.
The statement further noted that all of them, including Bulgaria, have stated at that Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine at the Crimea Platform Summit in August, stressing they will not recognize Russia’s efforts to legitimize its illegal seizure and occupation.
In an effort to keep the issue of the occupation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia trending the international community, Kyiv created the ‘Crimea Platform’ initiative – an international summit that reaffirmed the international commitments to de-occupy Crimea, seven and a half years after Russian annexing of the peninsula.
Kyiv was the first to react after Radev’s comments, summoning the Bulgarian ambassador in Kyiv on Friday and asking for a rebuttal from the Bulgarian president, who tried to minimize the incident on the same day stressing it’s crystal clear that Crimea annexation is a violation of international law.
Russia, on the other side, was delighted by Radev’s comment with the leader of the Bulgarian community on the peninsula warmly inviting the Bulgarian president to visit “Russian Crimea”.