Bulgaria has decided to declare 70 diplomats and representatives of the technical staff of the Russian diplomatic mission in Sofia persona nongrata. This was announced by Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, whose government was denied confidence. Petkov saw the machinations of Moscow in the vote of no confidence. Although the former Prime Minister last March called on Russia to stop spying.
How many lives?
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said that Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova was given an oral note and a list of names of those who must leave the country before midnight on July 3, informs “A diary”. The Bulgarian edition called it an unprecedented event for relations between the two countries.
Sofia has been declared undesirable by 70 members of the diplomatic mission, but she does not intend to stop there. It follows from the protocols of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry that 23 detainees and 25 administrative and technical employees were identified.
According to unofficial information, about 150 employees currently work at the Russian embassy in Sofia.
“Bulgaria has determined to expel 70 diplomats and representatives of the technical staff of the Russian embassy,” the embassy confirmed to TASS. A Russian Foreign Ministry source told the agency that Russia had responded to the expulsion. “Russia will give a good answer,” the ministry and RIA Novosti said.
Moscow’s inevitable response may not depend on the number of employees being expelled, but it may well seem like paralysis and even the closure of the Bulgarian embassy in Russia, Dnevnik fears.
“Everyone who works against the interests of Bulgaria should return to the country they came from,” said Petkov, who continues to act as prime minister after the resignation of his government. It follows from his words that many were expelled, working under cover in the embassy, engaged in secret missions.
Bulgaria, you represent Counsellor-Envoy Voskresensky, Consuls General in Varna and Ruse, director of the cultural and information center, writes TASS. All diplomats and technical staff will be expelled from the consulates general in the city of Ruse. The Consulate General in Varna is also practically without employees. Therefore, the consular section of the embassy in Sofia and the consulate in Varna are suspending their work, and the consulate in Ruse is being closed and housed in the embassy.
“On Sunday we set the task that a full plane with 70 seats would return to Moscow,” the resigned prime minister added. “When foreign authorities invade Bulgarian food enterprises, we will counteract this,” he told reporters.
His words came at a time when NATO leaders are gathering in Madrid for a summit, in Europe “Diary”. The Bulgarian delegation of the President for the infection Rumen Radev.
Bulgaria is experiencing a crisis. The leader of the party “There is such a people” announced his withdrawal from the party coalition, after which on June 22 the Bulgarian parliament passed a vote of no confidence in the government.
The vote was proposed to be elected by the deputies of the GERB party, headed by former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. Borisova is considered a pro-Russian politician, Petkova is considered a NATO export.
Petkov, after a vote of no confidence in his government, blamed not only Bulgarian politicians, but also the Russian ambassador Mitrofanova.
“The fact that Mitrofanova is to blame is probably so convenient for their consideration, since now Russia is generally to blame for everything,” the ambassador used on the air of the Rossiya 24 TV channel. The crisis, parliamentary elections were held three times, he finally got together.
Petkov received the post of prime minister following the parliamentary elections in December 2021. The coalition “Continue Changes” led by him and Asen Vasilyev won the largest number of seats in parliament. A government was formed in coalition with the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the electoral bloc “Democratic Bulgaria” and the party “There is such a people”.
The GERB party accuses the prime minister of failing to master natural inflation.
Petkov has taken a hard line against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. His country from the first is justified by a categorical refusal for gas in rubles. Bulgaria was included among the countries that refused to open their skies to registered Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov when he was about to visit Belgrade.
Andrey Zakharov, correspondent for the BBC Russian Service, about Petkov’s dream:
“The expulsion of Russian diplomats is Prime Minister Kiril Petkov’s swan song. He became prime minister last year after a long parliamentary crisis, where his position was supported by the main Russophile party in Bulgaria – the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the heir to the Communist Party, led the country during the socialist era. and President Rumen Radev , who never hid his Russophilia and, for example, conducted research against the detection of crimes in Bulgaria.
After the start of the war, Radev and Petkov disagreed about the situation around the spread of weapons. Petkov founded the Let’s Change Party and at the very first press conference he declared his high support for the alliance, including on the issue of a possible attack.
At the same time, Deputy Prime Minister Asen Vasiliev said that the Russian ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova, for her words in support of the war and rude statements towards the Bulgarian government, is quite worthy of expulsion from the country.
But Petkov could not carry out these outbursts – for example, send them to diplomats – because a coalition was discovered, in which there was also the Socialist Party. In addition, Russophile sentiments have always been strong in the Bulgarian elite (primarily the power elite). And now, when he received a vote of no confidence and resigned, he did what he always wanted to do: True, Mitrofanova remained in Sofia.
Last March, when Sofia once again declared Russian diplomats persona non grata, former Prime Minister Borisov told the Russian government to stop spying. “Friendship is friendship, we have always demonstrated this, including on the issue of the Balkan Stream gas pipeline, but to spy on reservations in NATO [нельзя]”, he said.
Two members of the operational intelligence of Bulgaria, who were detained during special operations in Sofia, were then detained on suspicion of spying for Russia.
By the same time, Bulgaria had already expelled Russian Russian diplomats, including military attachés. They were also suspected of espionage.
Like other countries, Bolagria expelled Russian diplomats in response to the second in Ukraine.
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