Bulgaria Expels 70 Russian Diplomats
Bulgaria recalls 70 Russian diplomats. The news was announced by Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, who clarified that this happened thanks to the security services.
"All of them were diplomats, but carried out unusual activities", the prime minister said. "That's 70 people, they were in different official positions. All are diplomats at the Russian embassy", Petkov said.
"Our services have identified them as people largely associated with Russian security services and have worked against the interests of our country. I would like to congratulate the Bulgarian services and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for having done their job. I want to tell all foreign countries, not only the Russian one - that everyone who works against the interests of Bulgaria - our country has services that work for its interests and foreign agents will be expelled to go back to their country", stressed Petkov. "It is very important for the Bulgarian interest that the Bulgarian services work for Bulgaria. This is by no means aggression against the Russian people - just when foreign governments try to interfere in the internal affairs of Bulgaria, we have clear institutions that will counteract. Many of these people worked directly for foreign services and their diplomatic role was just a cover. On Sunday, we expect a full plane with 70 seats to go back to Moscow", Petkov added. "When foreign governments try to interfere in the internal affairs of Bulgaria, we will clearly oppose them", he added.
Earlier today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Irena Dimitrova had summoned the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to a meeting today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Russian Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova was informed about the decision of the Bulgarian side to reduce the number of staff of the Russian missions in the Republic of Bulgaria to limits not exceeding the number of Bulgarian diplomatic representatives in the missions in the Russian Federation.
The number should be maintained within up to 23 diplomatic and 25 administrative and technical staff.
Bulgaria's request has two grounds: first, reciprocity based on Art. 11 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The staff of foreign missions should be maintained within a reasonable and normal framework, given the current state of bilateral relations. Secondly, because of the activity carried out by Russian officials, defined by the competent Bulgarian authorities as incompatible with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the aim of which is to develop friendly relations between the states. Activity classified by the relevant institutions as a threat to national security as a ground for declaring them undesirable.
The verbal note handed to Ambassador Mitrofanova also states the expectation of the Bulgarian side for Russia to temporarily close its Consulate l in Ruse, and Bulgaria will temporarily close its Consulate in Ekaterinburg.
Ambassador Mitrofanova was presented with the names of 70 associates of the missions of the Russian Federation in our country, who should leave the country by midnight on July 3, 2022.
"The decision to expel 70 Russian diplomats is an unprecedented act in Bulgarian diplomacy, which will have long-term consequences", Kornelia Ninova said on her Facebook account. "It was not taken by the Council of Ministers or the Coalition Council. The Bulgarian Socialist Party strongly disagrees with this decision, who and wherever took it", Ninova explained.
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