Bulgaria to expel Russian diplomats 

Bulgaria to expel Russian diplomats 

Two envoys based at the Russian embassy in Sofia have been accused of spying and ordered to leave the country.

A consular first secretary and a “trade representative” acquired “state secrets in order to transfer it to a foreign state or organisation”, the Bulgarian chief prosecutor’s office said. 

The first secretary allegedly collected information on elections after 2017 and the “trade” representative acquired sensitive energy security data after October 2018.

Russia is Bulgaria’s most important energy supplier.

The Russian embassy said there was “no evidence was presented as proof of activities” and reciprocal measures might be taken in Moscow.

“We also consider the decision of the Bulgarian authorities to announce this information publicly before officially notifying the embassy as incompatible with the traditionally constructive spirit of our relations,” a Russian statement said.

In October, Bulgaria expelled another Russian diplomatic first secretary for gathering classified information Bulgaria, the EU and Nato.

The two Slavic, predominantly Eastern Orthodox countries largely maintained close ties after the fall of communism in 1989.

But bilateral relations have been put under increasing strain due to a series of recent intelligence scandals.

On Thursday Bulgaria charged three Russians in absentia with the attempted murder in Sofia of arms manufacturer Emiliyan Gebrev, his son and his company’s manager in an alleged 2015 poisoning attack.

War games invitation 

Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu says Nato members are invited to take part in the annual International Army Games. 

Shoigu had invited “troops from 90 countries, including Nato members”, the ministry announced online. 

The games, which have been held since 2015, include a tank biathlon with target shooting and an obstacle course. 

The website said the late August event would focus on “security as a whole, medical care and logistics”.  

Approximately 6,000 troops are expected to attend. Last year, several European Union countries sent observers and Greece, a Nato member, entered the competition. 

China, Vietnam, Angola and Iran have taken part in the past. 

This year’s event is due to take place in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia and Uzbekistan.

The Russian Defence Ministry invited 85 countries to participate last year, with 39 attending.




Bulgarian troops. Picture credit: Wikimedia 

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