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Putin Calls Out Bulgaria for 'Gutless' Position on South Stream Pipeline Project

Russian president perplexed by Bulgarian decision to act against its own interests

Originally appeared at Novinite

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday told journalists he was perplexed to witness the "gutless" position of the Bulgarian government which in his words "ignored national interest".

Putin was referring to the South Stream pipeline project, which Russia abandoned last December, with the President citing opposition from the EU that resulted in Bulgaria refusing to issue construction permits. Agreement was reached back then to build a pipeline to Turkey (Turkish Stream) instead.

At at his annual press conference on Thursday, Russia's head of state underlined that his country had to invest some USD 3 B into South Stream for construction, job openings and salaries, also pointing out that Bulgaria would have started to receive EUR 400 M annually in transit fees if the project had been carried out.

TASS news agency quotes Putin as saying Moscow came up with the project "because Bulgaria supported it, but all of a sudden they didn't want it".

He stressed South Stream's idea had been "to help Bulgaria".

Putin made his comments when asked about major infrastructure projects to which Russia is currently committed.

The fate of Turkish Stream and the Akkuyu nuclear plant which Russia was supposed to build were called into question by the tensions between Russia and Turkey over a Russian bomber downed by two Turkish F-16s near the border with Syria.

On Turkish StreamPutin said it did not "depend on us [Russia]" whether the project would be realized.

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