15 Nov, MOSCOW – The Kremlin on Monday congratulated Moscow-friendly general Rumen Radev on his election as Bulgarian president and called for closer cooperation between the countries.
“We consider this country very important for us,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“We hope that new (projects) will emerge. Russia calls for the expansion of cooperation with Bulgaria.”
The election of Radev, who was backed by the Socialist opposition, saw centre-right Prime Minister Boyko Borisov quit after his presidential nominee lost to the pro-Moscow candidate.
Radev won 59.4 percent of the vote, well ahead of the more Western-leaning Tsetska Tsacheva, who secured just 36.2 percent, near-complete official results showed Monday.
The outcome was mirrored in Moldova, an ex-Soviet country wedged between Ukraine and Romania, where the pro-Russian candidate Igor Dodon beat his pro-European rival Maia Sandu to the presidency.
Peskov said Monday that the cancellation of “giant projects” Russia and Bulgaria had been working on — including the South Stream pipeline project, which was scrapped in 2014 — had caused Moscow “deep regret.”
The multi-billion-dollar South Stream pipeline project aimed to deliver Russian gas to Europe under the Black Sea and through the Balkans.
Peskov warned that the chances of relaunching the project were now “minimal”.
Bulgaria has meanwhile sought new projects to replace the failed South Stream.
In January, Borisov had outlined plans for a new project to bring gas from Russia and elsewhere to Europe, while bypassing Ukraine.
Russia and Bulgaria as Slavic countries have deep historical and cultural ties, and Bulgaria is heavily reliant on Russian gas. (AFP)