Małgorzata Kulbaczewska-Figat: Poland is Ukraine’s indispensable ally

A comment by Cross-border Talks’ editor in the context of the media hype about Ukraine planning to give a special status to Polish citizens.

On Saturday 21 May 2022 the Polish president Andrzej Duda paid an unexpected visit to Kyiv and spoke to the members of Ukrainian parliament or the Verkhovna Rada. The Polish president was actually the first head of a Western state officially invited to Ukraine to speak to the members of parliament since the Russian invasion. And the moment in which he appeared in Kyiv was quite important.

The war has been raging for three months. The interest of the international public in Ukraine seems to be lessening. So for Ukrainians inviting a Polish president is a way of making international public opinion again interested in Ukraine. They do that to show once again that Ukraine still has powerful friends in the West – not only the United States, but also an important country in the center of Europe.

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Who will make the change in Bulgarian-Romanian relations?

Could Bulgarian-Romanian relation be challenge for theorists and practicians of change (source: Pixabay, CC0)

Among other things, Europe Day 2022 in the Bulgarian city of Rousse was also the occasion for a Bulgarian-Romanian celebration of the 15th anniversary of the accession of the two countries to the EU. In the context of the war in Ukraine, local activists and representatives of institutions developing Bulgarian-Romanian relations gathered on a ship in the Danube, in an event demonstrating the Bulgarian government’s desire for better ties with Romania

Vladimir Mitev

Just a few months before the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, both Bulgaria and Romania formed their current governments and intensified their diplomatic and political relations. A number of diplomatic visits took place between their governments and heads of states. Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov’s visit to Bucharest at the end of April 2022 came up with a decision to open a new border crossing between the two countries at Ruse-Giurgiu which will manage the passenger and cargo flow of the ferry link planned to be reopened between the two cities. Plans for five new bridges between the two countries were also announced, one of them at Ruse-Giurgiu. 

That being said, political relations between the two countries have been less intensive for quite a long time during the era of Bulgarian prime minister Borissov. The spirit of competition between the two countries used to be easier to be observed while cooperation between them at the level of states was not so evident. 

In this context, an event was held on 9 May 2022 on a ship in Rousse to mark the 15th anniversary of the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU. Organized by the Austrian Embassy in Bulgaria (with the help of the Austrian Library in Ruse) and the Ministry of Transport (whose minister – Nikolai Sabev – is from Rousse and shows interest in development of infrastructure in Northern Bulgaria), the “celebration” took place on the ship “Rustchuk” in the presence of diplomats from European embassies and local politicians from Ruse. A representative of the Romanian Embassy was present.

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The visit of the Iranian president Raisi to Moscow “does not appear to be a breakthrough”

The nuclear power plant Bushehr is a symbol of Russian-Iranian technological cooperation in the last 3 decades. It is also a representative of the Iranian peaceful nuclear programme (source: YouTube)

The TASS correspondent in Tehran put the visit into the context of the Russian-Iranian relations of the last few years

On 19 January 2022 the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi held a meeting in Moscow with the Russian president Vladimir Putin and on the next day he spoke before the State Duma (the lower chamber of the Russian parliament) and made a visit at the Cathedral Mosque in Moscow. The underlined text is written by Vladimir Mitev and is based on TASS reports and’ coverage about Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Moscow. The title and the subtitle are written by the Persian Bridge of Friendship.

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