Home World Seventy Russian diplomats deported from Bulgaria have been repatriated, Moscow threatens retaliation

Seventy Russian diplomats deported from Bulgaria have been repatriated, Moscow threatens retaliation

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Seventy Russian diplomats deported from Bulgaria have been repatriated, Moscow threatens retaliation

The seventy diplomats, officials and members of the technical staff of the Russian embassy in Sofia, expelled as “persona non grata” in recent days, left the country yesterday afternoon within the deadline set by the Bulgarian authorities. According to some sources, the Russian ambassador to Bulgaria was also expelled: Eleonora Mitrofanova. The expelled ones boarded two Russian planes, which arrived at Sofia airport to transport over 180 people to Moscow, namely diplomats, officials, technicians and their families. Moscow had applied for the two flights after air traffic to and from Bulgaria was suspended as part of sanctions imposed on Russia for the war in Ukraine One of the expelled Russian diplomats was photographed at Sofia airport wearing a T-shirt with the image of Putin and the inscription: “Russia is a country that is not afraid of anything”.

Among the expelled diplomats there was Filip Voskresenski, Plenipotentiary Minister of the Russian Federation in Bulgaria. “None of the Russian diplomats or officials, illegally and arrogantly expelled, worked against Bulgaria’s interests,” Voskresenski told reporters in Bulgarian language before embarking. “I leave with a sense of gratitude to Bulgaria, to the Bulgarians with whom I have worked for many years. Expulsion does not mean a crisis in relations between people, between Russians and Bulgarians. No one, absolutely no one, can ruin our relations, nor Kirill Petkov nor anyone else, “he added.

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In recent days, the outgoing prime minister of Bulgaria Kiril Petkov had expelled the seventy, a record number, from the Russian embassy in Sofia, on the grounds that they would “work against Bulgaria’s interests”. The ambassador of the Russian Federation to Bulgaria Eleonora Mitrofanova had immediately requested the revocation of the expulsion, a request promptly rejected by Petkov. And in the diplomatic crisis between the two countries, Mitrofanova said that you would ask Moscow to close the Russian embassy in Sofia. Several Bulgarian MPs and analysts express fears that a possible diplomatic break between Russia and Bulgaria could have serious economic consequences. Moscow could turn off the tap of Russian oil whose importation can continue until 2024 by decision of Brussels. Moscow could also suspend fuel supplies for Bulgaria’s only nuclear power plant, which produces around 40% of Bulgaria’s electricity.

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The spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, announced that Moscow could take measures against the European Union for its support for the decision of the Bulgarian authorities. “Sofia’s politicized decision on the unjustified cut of our diplomatic staff in Bulgaria will, of course, not go unanswered bilaterally.” According to Zakharova, “the European External Action Service should understand that reckless support for the anti-Russian actions of individual member states makes the whole European Union responsible for the consequences, including countermeasures on our part”. “Now, after this nonsense, the embassy is no longer able to function normally,” she said the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

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