Bulgarian Prime Minister: Hungary and Serbia Fuel 'War Machine' of Putin
Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov has accused Hungary and Serbia of aiding the Kremlin's 'war machine' by not seeking alternative energy sources in the escalating dispute over the gas import tax, according to Bloomberg.
Denkov signalled to his government that he does not plan to cancel the tax on Russian gas transported through Bulgaria, stating that the intention to deprive the state-controlled aggressor exporter, Gazprom, of profits used to fund the war against Ukraine.
In response, the pro-Russian government of Hungary labelled Bulgaria's earlier announcement as a 'hostile act.' Pro-Russian politicians in Serbia claimed that the tax threatens the supply of vital fuel to the region.
Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov took office in June at the helm of a coalition of competing parties. He put an end to years of political stagnation in Sofia and set the country on a pro-European course.
Bulgaria pledged to reduce its dependence on Moscow after many years of almost complete reliance on Russia for gas, oil, and nuclear fuel, while historically maintaining strong ties with Russia.
After hesitations by several temporary governments, Denkov also pledged to strengthen military support for Ukraine. Bulgaria, a major producer of Soviet-style munitions, is now looking to expand its production capacity, the prime minister said.
"Yes, I am concerned about Russia's aggression in Eastern Europe," he said. The Kremlin 'seeks to restore the power of the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire. And Bulgaria has always been of key interest in these two entities.'
Bulgaria was also one of the first EU member states to stop supplies from Russia after Russians invaded Ukraine last year, leading to the acceleration of long-delayed projects to secure imports from Azerbaijan and regional liquefied natural gas terminals in Greece and Turkey.
Currently, Bulgaria is part of a joint NATO initiative in the Black Sea region. Along with Romania and Turkey, Bulgaria agreed to establish a demining mission, which, according to Denkov's hopes, will be deployed 'very soon.'
Additionally, Bulgaria will join the European initiative 'Sky Shield'.