Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia expel Russian diplomats | News


Bulgaria’s foreign ministry says 10 diplomats were given 72 hours to leave the country; Latvia and Estonia also announce three expulsions.

Bulgaria’s foreign ministry has announced the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats, accusing them of breaching international conventions on diplomatic ties.

In a statement on its website on Friday, the foreign ministry said Prime Minister Kiril Petkov was consulted on the expulsions and the Russian ambassador to Sofia had been informed.

“At the suggestion of the competent authorities, agreed with Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, Bulgaria today declared ten Russian diplomats personae non gratae,” the statement read.

“They were given a period of 72 hours to leave the country.”

Eleonora Mitrofanova, Russia’s ambassador to Bulgaria, described the decision as an “unfriendly act”.

“… The wording is usual” – activities incompatible with their status. “We perceive this as an extremely unfriendly act and reserve the right to retaliate,” Mitrofanova said in a statement carried by the TASS news agency.

This is the second wave of expulsions of Russian diplomats from Bulgaria. On March 2, Sofia expelled two Russian diplomats over allegations they had been involved in espionage.

Bulgaria, Russia’s closest ally during the Cold War but now a European Union member state and part of NATO that has condemned the invasion of Ukraine, has expelled eight other Russian diplomats over suspected spying since October 2019.

Separately on Friday, the foreign ministries of Latvia and Estonia said they were expelling three Russian diplomats.

On Monday, EU and NATO member Slovakia expelled three Russian embassy staff based on information from its secret service.


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