Bulgaria's IntMin Secretary 'Offered Resignation' over Lyaskovets
Interior Ministry's Chief Secretary Svetlozar Lazarov offered to resign after a failed operation in Bulgaria's town of Lyaskovets, Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev revealed.
In an interview for Bulgarian TV channel bTV, Yovchev said on Tuesday that he advised Lazarov to keep his job, despite tragic events triggered by the operation which left one commando dead and three injured.
The special action was conducted to disarm Petko Savov Petkov, 53, who had barricaded himself at home and who had repeatedly threatened to shoot at children playing in the schoolyard near his apartment's window.
The opposition has repeatedly called for Lazarov's resignation since the events unfolded.
"I will protect any person who fulfills their duties in the Interior Ministry. It is the easiest thing to wash one's hands with other people", Yovchev argued on bTV's morning broadcast.
The Interior Minister made clear that he firmly stood behind Chief Secretary Lazarov and will do so as long as he abides by his duties.
Yovchev repeated his stance that it was two police officers taking photos of the house of Petko Petkov, the Lyaskovets shooter, who foiled the operation.
It was decided Monday that the head of Veliko Tarnovo Regional Directorate of the Interior Ministry, Hristo Hristov be replaced due to blunders in the operation, and the two police officers be punished for their actions. The two policemen's responsiblity was confirmed at a hearing of Lazarov in Parliament and was based on an investigation by the Inspectorate at the Interior Ministry.
Retired Gen. Atanas Atanasov argued on Tuesday for Bulgarian NOVA TV that the investigation was "framed up" after Yovchev had said earlier on television that Chief Secretary Lazarov is not responsible for the failed operation, thus, in Atanasov's words, "ordering the Inspectorate what the results must be".
Atanasov was firm that Lazarov should have left his job, as he personally assigned the operation.