BTA News

Ministers, Diplomats Open International Crimea Platform’s Second Black Sea Security Conference in Sofia

The second Black Sea Security Conference within the international Crimea Platform was officially opened in Sofia on Monday. The forum is jointly organized by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence of the Republic of Bulgaria and Ukraine, in partnership with the Centre for Defence Strategies (Ukraine).

Investing in the security of the Black Sea region is investing in the Euro-Atlantic zone of peace and freedom, said caretaker Foreign Minister Stefan Dimitrov, who opened the forum.

Support for Ukraine will remain in the focus of the defence policy of the caretaker government, caretaker Defence Minister Atanas Zapryanov said.

“Today’s conference will serve as an important platform for the security of the Black Sea region,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a video address to the conference. He added he was deeply grateful for the support of the Bulgarian government and the citizens of the country. “We all want to see the Black Sea as a zone of peace and economic development,” Kuleba stressed.

The Black Sea should become a sea of NATO, peace and stability, he said. This already happened with the Baltic Sea after Finland and Sweden joined the Alliance, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister noted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin believed Kiev would fall quickly, he also believed Ukraine’s neighbors in the Black Sea region would be divided, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a video address. On all fronts, Putin has been proven wrong, Blinken underlined. He pointed out that with Ukraine’s courage and the support of countries in the region and around the world, the country regained more than half of the territories that were seized from it by Russia.

“The Black Sea region represents a crossroads of cultures, traditions and peace. Stability and prosperity are vital for those who live in it,” Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric said in a video address. The Council of Europe is dedicated to ensuring human rights and democracy, she added.

“Let us never forget that Russia’s war against Ukraine began in 2014 with the occupation of Crimea,” Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro urged in a video address. He pointed out that warning signs that something worse would happen were ignored.

The implementation of the Ukrainian peace formula will also be discussed at the forum. Among those attending the forum are MPs, diplomats and military personnel.