Bulgaria gave two Russian diplomats 72 hours to leave the country, for their alleged involvement in a wrapped espionage network. Last week, six (former) employees of the Military Intelligence Service were arrested for allegedly transferring classified information to Russia.
A former high-ranking Bulgarian officer headed the secret organization. His wife is Russian by nationality They kept in touch with the Russian embassy and passed on information about, among other things, the European Union and NATO.
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said last week that Russia had violated the Vienna Treaty of Diplomatic Relations over allegations that the embassy in Sofia was involved in espionage activities.
The two Russian suspects cannot be prosecuted because they enjoy diplomatic immunity as embassy employees. In recent years, Russian diplomats have been expelled from Bulgaria several times due to (suspected) espionage.
The Russian embassy described the espionage allegations as unfounded and says it will soon reach an “appropriate response”. In the past, the Kremlin has also decided to declare diplomats persona non grata after expelling Russian diplomats.
NATO President Jens Stoltenberg This afternoon He discussed the conflict with Russia with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. Earlier, the foreign ministers of the United Kingdom, the United States and North Macedonia had already expressed their support for Bulgaria.
The diplomatic row comes amid the campaign for the Bulgarian parliamentary elections scheduled for April 4th. Go Borissov, Christian Democrats, accused of corruption In the polls In the lead, but followed by the BSP Socialist Party. This party wants to end European sanctions against Russia.