The Russian diplomats and their families, totaling 160 people, took off on Sunday on two special flights from Sofia to Moscow. On the expulsion of 70 employees of the Russian embassy, accused of espionage, announced last Tuesday by Bulgarian Prime Minister Kirill Petkov, who was appointed diplomats for five days to train.
The expulsion of so many diplomats was unprecedented in the history of Russian-Bulgarian relations. Sophia, in comparison with three years, is not appointed by the diplomats of the Russian Federation as persons free of charge, in March, as a result, she expelled ten representatives of the US embassy, to which Moscow invariably adhered to reciprocity.
More than representatives of the Russian embassy left Bulgaria.
The unprecedented growth of the situation also arises from the fact that the government of Kiril Petkov, who on June 28 announced the expulsion of 70 Russian diplomats, was passed a vote of no confidence in parliament on June 22. Former GERB Prime Minister Boyko Borisov blaming the government for the collapse of economic policy.
In relation to the Russian Federation, Kiril Petkov, who headed the Bulgarian half a year ago, took a tough stance. Once again, he replaced the country’s defense minister for calling the military operations of Russian troops in Ukraine a “war”. The prime minister fully supported the EU proposal against the Russian Federation, refusing the possibility of paying for Russian gas in rubles, and agreed to repair Ukrainian military equipment in Bulgaria. The official representation of the Russian Federation in Sofia, Mr. Petkov has repeatedly called “excessive”.
After a vote of no confidence in the government of Kiril Petkov in Bulgaria, either a new cabinet must be formed, or the country is waiting for early parliamentary elections. On Friday, Bulgarian President Rumenev instructed the current Minister of Finance Asen Vasilev – he has seven days to do this. If the president approves the new cabinet, it will have to be approved by the parliament. At the same time, a favorable outcome for a new voting outcome is not guaranteed.
One of the wards in the current legal coalitions, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, does not hide its dissatisfaction with the broad powers exiled by Russian diplomats.
However, the matter may not end only with the dissolution of parliament and early elections. Russian Ambassador to Sofia Eleonora Mitrofanova reacted harshly to the decision of the Bulgarian authorities. On Thursday, she received an answer from the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs before 12:00 Friday, a decision to expel her, threatening her in connection with the fact of breaking diplomatic relations.
On Friday morning, Kiril Petkov rejected the ambassador’s ultimatum, providing for the seizure of a copy of the protocol of the investigation, despite the expulsion of diplomats. According to him, “Russia would continue to have 43 representative offices in Sofia against 12 in the Bulgarian representative office in Moscow.” The Russian ambassador’s ultimatum to the EU was considered “unjustified”.
After that, Eleonora Mitrofanova, in a congress to the Bulgarian people, stated that Moscow was proposing “to close the Russian embassy in Bulgaria, and this will inevitably be transferred to close the Bulgarian mission in Moscow.” Acceptance of the proposal would send a rupture of a complete rupture of relations between the two countries.
Eleonora Mitrofanova’s relations with Bulgarian structures did not work out from the very beginning of her ambassadorial mission in 2021. After she called the Bulgarian Kremlin a “servant of the West”, and in a video message on the occasion of Bulgaria’s Liberation Day on March 3, she said that the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry was protesting against the vote and the vote of apologies. The reactions of the ambassador or the embassy of the Russian Federation do not differ.
Nevertheless, many in Bulgaria are expressing the hope that it will not come to a complete rupture.
Especially considering the fact that, according to Bulgarian data, about 300,000 more than half a million citizens of the Russian Federation annually visit this country as tourists.
Kremlin spokesman President Dmitry Peskov said the other day that the issue of closing the embassy in Sofia “will require compliance with the Foreign Ministry when reporting responsibility.”