President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy held negotiations with Prime Minister of Bulgaria Kiril Petkov who is on a visit to our country.
"Today we held meaningful talks, discussed all the key issues that deserve attention right now in such difficult conditions," the Ukrainian Head of State said during a meeting with media representatives following the talks.
The President stressed that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been going on for 64 days already. The aggressor attacks both military and civilians, destroys infrastructure. But our state is fighting back, and Russia will achieve nothing but "contempt and condemnation from all decent people in the world."
Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Kiril Petkov for the fact that Bulgaria, like the whole civilized world, stands in solidarity with Ukraine today.
"Our state now needs the support of our reliable friends more than ever to defend the right to life, to our own state, to the European future for our people. But this struggle is not only for Ukraine. Now in Ukraine we defend the values of the whole of Europe, the whole world. And right now, in Ukraine, it is being decided whether other nations of Europe will be able to live freely, to live democratically," the President is convinced.
According to him, during today's meeting with the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, cooperation was initiated to repair Ukrainian military equipment at Bulgarian production facilities.
"It is very important for Ukraine. I am sure that such cooperation will be beneficial for both Bulgarian companies and Bulgarian economy. And for us, quality and time are very important, because we fight every day," Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed.
The issue of cooperation in the energy sphere was also raised. According to the President, Ukraine is ready to supply electricity to Bulgaria and is also interested in diversifying gas supplies in the region, in particular by using the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline together with the Bulgarian side.
In addition, according to the President, an agreement was reached to establish the transportation of agricultural products from Ukraine through the Bulgarian port of Varna on the Black Sea coast. For its part, the Ukrainian side will provide the necessary assistance to resolve as soon as possible the issue with the Bulgarian ship blocked in the Chornomorsk sea port.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Kiril Petkov for the government's position in support of the European Union's sanctions policy.
"I want to emphasize that sanctions against Russia are needed only to force Russia to seek peace. For this to happen, sanctions must be effective, strong and not allow Russia to circumvent the restrictions. I hope that Bulgaria will continue to support the strengthening of sanctions for this war," he said.
During the meeting, the interlocutors paid special attention to Ukraine's movement towards EU membership. The President thanked the Prime Minister of Bulgaria for the clear and consistent support for Ukraine’s European future.
"In February, at our meeting in Munich, we signed a joint declaration on Ukraine's European perspective. Today, I received assurances that Bulgaria will support the decision to grant Ukraine the status of a candidate country for accession to the European Union at the next meeting of the European Council. I am very glad that our partners recognize that Ukraine has deserved an accelerated procedure for joining the EU," the President said.
The President also thanked Kiril Petkov for his personal initiative to raise funds in Bulgaria in support of Ukraine.
"By your own example, you inspire thousands of your fellow citizens to continue to show solidarity with our Ukrainian people. More than 90,000 Ukrainians, mostly women and children fleeing the horrors of war, have found shelter in Bulgaria. We are grateful to the Bulgarian people for their hospitality, support and really touching attitude," said Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The President of Ukraine noted Bulgaria's readiness to take part in the post-war reconstruction of our country, in particular one of the southern regions. He stressed that the high level of cooperation between Ukraine and Bulgaria and sincere mutual understanding prove that we are one European family united by a common past and, most importantly, a common future.
Prime Minister of Bulgaria Kiril Petkov, for his part, expressed support for our state. He noted that his country is ready to promote the export of electricity from Ukraine, can offer the port of Varna as a logistics hub, in particular for flour, and help use the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline.
According to him, Bulgaria will be happy to help and join the reconstruction of Ukraine. The Prime Minister also responded positively to Ukraine's request to repair and restore military equipment.
"It is important for Bulgaria that Ukraine moves to the European Union. It is time to say that Ukraine belongs to the EU and the European family. We must give a clear signal and show a clear path. You have the support of Bulgaria," Kiril Petkov summed up.