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How Radev embarrassed Bulgaria again

By refusing to support the full text of the declaration on Ukraine’s admission to NATO, President Radev only fuels and strengthens suspicions that Sofia is Moscow’s Trojan horse in NATO and the EU, writes Petar Cholakov from “Deutsche Vele”.

President Rumen Radev has spoken out against Ukraine’s admission to NATO before its conflict with Russia is resolved “peacefully”. The refusal of the Bulgarian head of state to support the full text of the declaration of his colleagues from Central and Eastern Europe on Ukraine looks like bowing to the Kremlin and to the Putinophiles in Bulgaria in particular. Twelve NATO countries (Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia , North Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Germany, Canada and the USA) encouraged the ambition of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to have his country join the Pact as soon as possible. Radev countered by arguing that if NATO were to approve Ukraine’s bid for membership now (he is in favor in principle), it would run the “risk of directly involving” the Alliance in the war between Moscow and Kyiv. To get the green light, Ukraine’s bid must be approved by all 30 Pact countries. Achieving consensus can take months, even years.

The declaration is primarily political

Turkey, for example, is against the sanctions imposed on Russia. Although briefly, Ankara even vetoed the membership applications of Sweden and Finland in the Alliance – countries that are not even involved in military conflicts (the veto was lifted at the NATO meeting in Madrid at the end of June 2022). Slovenia also expressed concerns about Ukraine’s admission to NATO at this time.

However, the declaration in support of Ukraine’s membership is primarily political in nature. It is a sign of solidarity with Kyiv, but also a warning to Moscow, which has increasingly hinted that it may use tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine. NATO unity can discourage Moscow, disunity – make it even more aggressive and daring. Against this background, the position of the Bulgarian president is unnecessary reinsurance. Worse, it certainly feeds and strengthens suspicions that Sofia is Moscow’s Trojan horse in NATO and the EU.

Radev’s position is not surprising. This NATO general, who less than a year ago exclaimed during a pre-election debate, “Crimea is Russian, no matter what?”, has recently stated that the severing of relations with “Gazprom” poses risks for the country. The caretaker government appointed by him, led by Galab Donev, tried to make a foreign policy turn – back to the loop of Russian hydrocarbons.

At the Kremlin’s whistle

It is high time that the Bulgarian politicians understand that the geopolitical choice of our country – in NATO and the EU – is already a fact. This choice gives rise to both rights and obligations. And can’t Sofia also do like Ankara – bargain with both? And how is Slovenia’s position different from Bulgaria’s – you will ask. But did the behavior of Mrs. Mitrofanova, the tone of the Kremlin and “Gazprom” show any respect for Bulgarian interests, flexibility, readiness for compromises, concessions? Unlike Bulgaria, Turkey has already sent military drones to help Kyiv, Slovenia will help Ukraine with 28 Soviet-era M-55S tanks, for which it will receive modern weapons from Germany. Bulgaria remains the most bent on Moscow. And we don’t even have the ability to defend our airspace without help from other NATO countries.

The strategy of the two foreign policy chairs (with NATO and the EU, but never against Russia), which many politicians in Bulgaria profess, has in recent months finally proven its insolvency and went bankrupt. Attempts to flirt with Moscow’s avatar Gazprom ended in failure for EU countries and companies, which were tempted to play the Kremlin’s whistle. Bowing to Moscow will not lead to anything good – neither for national security nor for Bulgaria’s reputation.

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