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Bulgaria expels two Russian diplomats for alleged military spying

Christian Fernsby |
Bulgaria has expelled two Russian diplomats accused of military espionage, and gave them 72 hours to leave the country, the foreign ministry said.

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“Bulgaria’s foreign ministry has declared two Russian diplomats ‘personae non gratae’ and has informed the Russian embassy with a diplomatic note”, a spokesman said.

Prosecutors said the two diplomats had been seeking classified information on army modernisation plans and the maintenance of military equipment since 2016 and that they aimed to pass it to Russian military intelligence.

Bulgaria is an EU and NATO member and generally has good ties with Russia. Last October, it has kicked out three other Russian diplomats over espionage allegations.

The Russian embassy in Sofia said there was no evidence to justify the “unreasonable expulsion” of its diplomats: “The groundless expulsion of Russian diplomats does not correspond to the traditionally constructive nature of bilateral relations”, it said in a statement.

“The Russian side reserves the right to take ‘mirrored’ measures in response”, the embassy added.

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