UWC President Eugene Czolij concluded visit to Bulgaria
On 24-25 November 2017, Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) President Eugene Czolij, on the invitation of UWC member organization Association of Ukrainian Organizations in Bulgaria “Maty Ukraiina”, fulfilled a working visit to Sofia, Bulgaria, to meet with its high-ranking officials and Ukrainian community and to discuss topical Ukrainian issues.
During the meetings with high-ranking state officials, the UWC President thanked Bulgaria for supporting Ukraine in combatting Russian aggression that threatens peace and stability throughout the world. Eugene Czolij highlighted Bulgaria’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union effective 1 January through 30 June 2018 and encouraged it to take advantage of this status to introduce effective means to overcome the Russian hybrid war and particularly to renew and strengthen sanctions against the Russian Federation until it fully complies with the Minsk agreements and de-occupies Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. The UWC President also focused attention on the gross violations of the human rights of Ukrainians in Crimea, Eastern Ukraine and the Russian Federation, and called upon Bulgaria to adopt a Magnitsky Law to reduce such violations. He also emphasized the importance of providing Ukraine with a Marshall Plan to assist it in overcoming the destructive consequences of Russian military actions and strengthen further reforms in Ukraine. Eugene Czolij drew attention to the disinformation campaign of the Russian Federation, which attempts to portray Ukraine as a failed state, and with this noted Ukraine’s significant progress in reforming, singling out efforts to reduce corruption.Не also addressed the concerns of the Bulgarian officials regarding Article 7 of the Law of Ukraine “On Education”. The UWC President called upon Bulgaria to recognize the Holodomor of 1932-33 as a genocide of the Ukrainian people.
On 24 November 2017 the UWC President spoke on the current priorities of the Ukrainian diaspora during commemorative dinner organized for its membership by the Association of Ukrainian Organizations in Bulgaria “Maty Ukraiina”.
On 25 November 2017 Eugene Czolij joined Association of Ukrainian Organizations in Bulgaria “Maty Ukraiina” in honoring the memory of victims of the Holodomor during a requiem at the Church of the Holy Sunday Bulgarian Orthodox Patriarchate celebrated by Fr. Kyryl Popov.
That same day Eugene Czolij delivered remarks during a screening of the film by director Kostantin Chakyrov about the 1946-47 Holodomor in Bessarabia, Pryishla osin’ 1946 (Then came Autumn of 1946).
The UWC President also joined Ukrainians in Bulgaria in laying a wreath at the monument to Taras Shevchenko.
During his visit to Bulgaria Eugene Czolij was accompanied by President of the Association of Ukrainian Organizations in Bulgaria “Maty Ukraiina” Olena Koсeva, Ambassador of Ukraine in Bulgaria Mykola Baltazhy and Director of the UWC Mission to International Organizations in Brussels Maryna Iaroshevych.
“The visit to Bulgaria offered an opportunity to present issues of current relevance for the global Ukrainian community to the governing authorities of Bulgaria and discuss future cooperation wth the Ukrainian community,” stated UWC President Eugene Czolij.
View a video report on the UWC President’s visit to Bulgaria HERE.
The list of individuals with whom the UWC President met:
Baltazhy Mykola, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine of Bulgaria
Bikov Toma, Member of Parliament of Bulgaria, Member of the Committee on Culture and the Media, Member of the Friendship Group Bulgaria-Ukraine at the National Assembly of Bulgaria
Chakyrov Konstantin, Director of the movie Pryishla osin’ 1946 on the Holodomor in Bessarabia in 1946-47
Haralampiev Petar, President of the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad
Kodzhabashev Kostadin, Director General of the Bilateral Relations Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria
Manev Manoil, Member of Parliament of Bulgaria, Deputy Chair of the Committee on the Policies for Bulgarians Abroad and Deputy Chair of the Friendship Group Bulgaria-Ukraine
Manushev Plamen, Member of Parliament of Bulgaria, Deputy Chairperson at the Foreign Affairs Committee, Member of the Defense Committee, Head of the Bulgarian Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Member of the Friendship Group Bulgaria-Ukraine at the National Assembly of Bulgaria
Milkov Nikolay, Secretary of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU
Stoyanov Alexander, Director of Research Center for the Study of Democracy
Velchev Krasimir, Member of Parliament of Bulgaria, Chairperson at the Religious Denominations and Human Rights Committee at the National Assembly of Bulgaria
In the photo from left to right: M. Manev, T. Bikov, P. Manushev, E. Czolij, M. Baltazhy, M. Iaroshevych and O. Koceva