Speaking at the opening of the conference “Warriors and Peace: Will the Time of Diplomacy Come?” organized by the Bulgarian Institute for Economics and International Relations and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev declared that “Our great goal is the immediate restoration of peace in Europe and the Middle East and ensuring our security, but achieving these goals requires that we finally have an objective and impartial view.”
The Bulgarian President harshly criticized the lack of diplomatic efforts to avoid the conflict in Ukraine which has resulted in Europe being embroiled in war. “The real power and effect of diplomacy is when it comes before the bombs and prevents them, not after the devastation and the casualties,” he told the audience.
Radev stated that the use of force is replacing the rule of law as a means of resolving international conflicts. “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has unleashed the collapse of the global security system, built over decades,” he declared, while criticizing both sides in the conflict for their lack of judgment. “The vague and inadequate formulation of political goals such as denazification and demilitarization has failed to be translated by the Russian General Staff into a rational military strategy,” Radev said, adding that Russia also underestimated the will of the Ukrainian people to assert their freedom and independence.
At the same time, Radev criticized Ukraine and its Western allies for underestimating Russia’s military and economic potential. He lashed out at leading Western economists, experts, politicians, and the media who claimed that several months of sanctions will destroy the Russian economy and that Russia’s military potential would be exhausted. Instead, Russia’s military-industrial complex is on the upswing today, new technologies are being introduced, and the country’s mobilization potential is enormous.
“This armed conflict has no military solution and the only way is to sit at the negotiating table more quickly, to find a rational formula for peace,” the Bulgarian President insisted, adding that the counter-offensive by the Ukrainian Armed Forces was a significant mistake. “The price is large – about 100,000 victims only on the Ukrainian side, and only for this counter-offensive, which is mired in the mud of the trenches, and much of the latest equipment provided by all NATO allies burned in the minefields… Why did these people have to die and where were diplomacy, politics, civic responsibility, where were our values?”
“Now it is extremely difficult to solve the military conflict by means of diplomacy, because Russia, feeling some military upswing, rejects a ceasefire in order to start negotiations,” Radev said. He also noted the disappointment in the West that, despite a massive investment in the war effort to support Ukraine, but with little to show for it.
Radev concluded that “Bulgaria should develop its capacity so that it can actively contribute within NATO and the EU to find consensus solutions and to defend our national interest.” He added that the continuation of the war in the heart of Europe and its transformation into a frozen conflict, as well as the return to some form of spheres of influence, contradicts the Bulgarian national interest.