Ukraine's Ambassador to the EU: Bulgarians should think about whether they want Repression like in Russia

World » EU | May 8, 2023, Monday // 11:26
Bulgaria: Ukraine's Ambassador to the EU: Bulgarians should think about whether they want Repression like in Russia Vsevolod Chentsov

Vsevolod Chentsov is Ukraine's ambassador to the EU since 2021. He was a special guest at the Open Day at the EU Council in Brussels, organized by the Swedish Presidency. Bulgarian media "Club Z" talked to the diplomat in Russian.

Your Excellency, how do you see the events in the Council of the EU and the attitude towards the Ukrainians?

"In general, it is very positive and always has been. But after Russia attacked our country, we undoubtedly feel spectacular support, mutual understanding, solidarity with Ukraine. The most important thing is that people understand very clearly who is the aggressor and who is the victim, what is the reason for this war. This is an imperialist war and the Kremlin is pursuing very clear interests.

I think that with such support we have every chance to win, and to win in the broadest sense of the word. Because the question is not only about territorial integrity, our independence as a country, but simply about our existence as a nation, about our prospects to develop as a European country, to become a member of the EU. The Ukrainians, who are now under protection and found shelter with different families, behave like Europeans. And people understand that they have nothing to fear from Ukraine. For the EU, this is only a plus and will only strengthen it.

I hope that when we win and the war is over, Ukraine will become the Mecca of tourism for Europeans. Because we have something to show and give to Europe - industry, agriculture, science. This war, as paradoxical as it sounds, revealed Ukraine to the Europeans. And vice versa - Ukrainians began to better understand where we are aiming and what the EU is."

Bulgarians in general do not have such a strong pro-Ukrainian position as many other Europeans, for example the Baltic countries. There is even a parliamentary party that openly sides with Russia. What would you tell them?

"I would like to tell the Bulgarians not to be afraid. First of all, not to be afraid of the truth, not to be afraid to open their eyes, not to be afraid to think, to understand what is really happening. And to think what would happen if the Kremlin wins this war. Do they want to live the way Russians live now, do they want to be subjected to arrests, repressions, do they want their standard of living to drop continuously, do they want their neighbors to fear them, do they want to bury their children and husbands? Let them ask themselves what values Russia carries today. 'Values' in quotation marks".

As Ukraine's ambassador to the EU, how do you explain to Ukrainians what joining it means?

"I explain that the EU today is the most successful integration project in history and currently it is the most powerful transforming force - such as social development, for strengthening institutions, creating a favorable business environment, reforming the judicial system. In my opinion, these things are also relevant today for Bulgaria and many countries, because the process of reforms is, in principle, continuous. A party should not stand still, it should move.

EU member states come together and share their best inventions and experiences with each other. Because we are all different - someone can sing well, another can guard the streets well. And when people come together, they learn from each other and strive for the best, not the worst. It makes us stronger."

You probably know that Bulgaria is among the countries that are not very inclined to arm Ukraine. Even President Radev said that the ammunition produced in our country will not be exported to Ukraine. What is your message to him and to those in power?

"My message is very simple. I think it is in the interest of all EU member states, and not only now, to help Ukraine, our armed forces and our people to protect themselves and Europe. The choice is very simple - either help Ukraine and achieve victory together with it, or then send your soldiers to the front. Because this is not a joke, Russia is an aggressor and today no one can tell you where it is ready to stop."

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Tags: Chentsov, EU, Ukraine, Bulgaria, ambassador
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