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Bulgaria seeks to investigate Russian war crimes against Ukraine

Bulgaria seeks to investigate Russian war crimes against Ukraine Bulgaria's Minister of Justice, Atanas Slavov (

The Bulgarian government is preparing amendments to the country's criminal code that would enable holding Russia accountable for its aggressive war against Ukraine, according to Bulgaria's Minister of Justice, Atanas Slavov.

“Our goal is for Bulgaria to be able to launch criminal proceedings, exercising universal jurisdiction, for the committed war crimes and crimes against peace and humanity in Ukraine,” Slavov said.

He adds that this will be an act of support for international efforts to investigate Russian aggression in Ukraine

According to Euractive, Bulgaria is among the minority of EU members who have not initiated criminal proceedings against Russia for war crimes in Ukraine or evasion of EU sanctions.

“It is crucial that Bulgaria can initiate proceedings for war crimes in Ukraine, exercising universal jurisdiction, given the large number of Ukrainian refugees in the country. They can testify,” Slavov said.

What else minister said

There are nearly 100,000 Ukrainian refugees in Bulgaria, many of them from areas affected by the ongoing conflict, such as Kherson.

Once data is collected from all European countries, this evidence could prove invaluable in the establishment of a future tribunal for war crimes in Ukraine.

“I would be very happy if such a step would help the future international investigation by an international tribunal, and Bulgaria would actively participate in the efforts of the international community,” Slavov commented.

Euractiv reports that many European countries have already initiated investigations, with some questioning hundreds of thousands of people, and the Baltic countries are the most active.

Bulgaria and the Ukrainian Peace Formula

Slavov stated that the future inclusion of the crime of "aggression" in Bulgaria's criminal code “will allow the prosecution of the military-political leadership that issued the orders for the relevant military actions in Ukraine.”

“Because the evidence of war crimes on the ground often reaches a medium level. While the crime of “aggression” is for the high management level. At the European level, there is the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine," the Minister of Justice stated.

He adds that Bulgaria's idea is for the country to actively contribute to European efforts.

In November of last year, Bulgaria signed the seventh point of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's Peace Formula, which involves restoring justice and prosecuting crimes committed in Ukraine.

Russian war crimes in Ukraine

During the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Russian army regularly commits war crimes. Several Western countries have condemned the Kremlin and promised to hold all those involved in committing crimes accountable.

Two law enforcement officers from Dagestan tortured people in the occupied part of the Vasylivsky district of the Zaporizhzhia region. A Ukrainian court found them guilty of violating laws and customs of war.

Also, two Russian military personnel in the temporarily occupied territory of the Kherson region killed a local resident. They were charged with suspicion.