Russian MPs Slam Bulgaria for Overfly Ban on Syria-Bound Cargo Planes
Bulgaria’s decision to close the country’s airspace to Russian military transport aircraft said to be carrying humanitarian aid to Syria has drawn a harsh response from Russian lawmakers on Tuesday.
"We will remember this unfriendly move and will find adequate answers," said Nikolay Levichev, vice-speaker of the Russian Duma (lower house of parliament) and a member of the Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, according to TASS.
"The Bulgarian leadership which made that decision - whatever the reasons behind it could be - has joined the camp of adversaries of the existing system of international relations," Levichev added.
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said earlier on Tuesday it had denied permission to Russian military transport aircraft to overfly Bulgarian territory because it had “reasonable doubts the cargoes are not the declared ones.” The ministry also said it made the decision independently - a statement disputed by Russian lawmakers.
Bulgaria’s decision to close its airspace to Russian cargo planes with humanitarian aid for Syria undermined relations between Moscow and Sofia, according to Leonid Kalashnikov, first deputy chairman of the Duma’s Committee on International Affairs.
"From the point of view of bilateral relations, this decision is just outrageous. It is not even about reciprocal measures that Russia will in any case take against Bulgaria. It will undermine our future relations whenever they improve," Kalashnikov said, according to TASS.
He described Sofia’s decision as "fulfillment of master’s demands by a vassal."
"The United States is probably trying to close the airspace for us to fly to the Middle East,” Kalashnikov added.
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