A public protest in front of the Russian embassy in Sofia on the evening of February 24 saw a large turnout expressing outrage at the invasion of Ukraine, while the Bulgarian state, government and political leaders protested by Russian President Vladimir Massive military aggression ordered by Putin.
A protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine was also scheduled for later in the evening at the monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia, while one was held earlier in the day in front of the Russian consulate in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Varna.
The protest outside the Russian embassy, which crowded to block the boulevard in front of it, included not only people who have relatives in Ukraine but also Bulgarians who said they were there to protest that the clock was on Century was turned back, reported the Bulgarian national television.
“I don’t like Putin’s aggression and his policies of the last 20 years. Every country has the right to free choice, and Ukraine had it, and he disagrees and becomes the aggressor,” Anastasia, a Ukrainian-born woman, told Bulgarian National Radio.
The participants waved Bulgarian, Ukrainian and Nato flags and signs reading “Stop Putin”. They called on Bulgaria to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
The protesters said they would appear as long as necessary and come to the same place every day.
From Varna, local media reported that Russians, Ukrainians, Bulgarians and residents of Belarus protested in front of the Russian consulate at noon.
The protesters shouted “murderers” and held signs reading “The war with Ukraine is a shame for Russia”, “Without Putin there is no war” and “Stop Putin today”.
A representative of the Ukrainian community in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv told Bulgarian National TV that a protest will be held on February 25 at 6 p.m. in front of the Plovdiv Municipality building.
Previously Bulgaria‘s National Assembly mostly agreed a statement condemning Russian military aggression against Ukraine, supporting sanctions and calling on Russia to immediately cease hostilities and return to full compliance with international law.
The vote was followed by a closed-door hearing by Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska, Defense Minister Stefan Yanev and the heads of the defense and intelligence services.
In the morning, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was sharply condemned Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and President Roumen Radev.
Petkov was en route to Brussels that evening for an emergency meeting of EU leaders to approve tougher sanctions on Putin’s Russia.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference that a meeting of the North Atlantic Council on February 24 considered a request from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia to hold urgent Article 4 consultations of the North Atlantic Council Washington Treaty.
Under Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty, member states may bring any concern, particularly one related to the security of a member country, to the table for discussion in the North Atlantic Council.
Stoltenberg told the briefing that the North Atlantic Council had decided to activate NATO’s defense plans.
“This is a prudent and defensive move to protect and shield the allied nations during this crisis,” Stoltenberg said.
“And it will allow us to deploy capabilities and forces, including the NATO Response Force, where they are needed,” he said.
“We have increased our presence in the eastern portion of the Alliance with thousands of additional troops, ships and aircraft in recent weeks to send a very clear message. Attacking an ally triggers the entire alliance’s response.
“And we’re not doing this to provoke conflict, we’re doing this to prevent conflict. What we’re doing is defensive, it’s prudent, it’s measured, but it’s necessary because we see Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine and by extension the allies, how can we ensure that there is no room for misunderstandings about that Russia cannot do this against a NATO-allied country,” Stoltenberg said.
Please support independent journalism by clicking the orange button below. For just €3 a month or currency equivalent, you can support The Sofia Globe through patreon.com and get access to exclusive subscriber-only content:
Become a patron!