Bulgaria has declared 70 Russian officials as “persona non grata” over allegations of espionage over their diplomatic missions, which has angered Vladimir Putin.
Putin has given Bulgaria a serious warning to reverse that decision on Friday in a deadline or risk severing diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said, “This is what happens when foreign governments try to interfere in Bulgaria’s internal affairs.”
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On Saturday the Russian diplomats will be kicked out of Bulgaria on specially chartered flights back to Moscow.
The Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria Eleonora Mitrofanova stated that Russia can recall all of their 114 diplomats and then close the embassy and the Russian consulates altogether.
Mitrofanova said, “Russia is considering severing diplomatic relations with Bulgaria over the scandal with the expelled 70 Russian diplomats.”
The top official said Bulgaria’s actions are being seen by Moscow as an “unprecedented” move against Russia.
Russia has also accused the UK and US of controlling political decisions being made in Bulgaria and the Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria claims that London and Washington were “calling the shots” in Sofia.
The Bulgarian Prime Minister said, “We respect the Russian people and value our cultural, historical, social and trade and economic ties.
“Therefore, although the Bulgarian presence in our embassy in Russia is only 12 people, the Russian embassy in Bulgaria will have the opportunity to retain 43 employees, according to the decision taken by the Bulgarian government on Wednesday.”
He added, “We are convinced that Bulgarian-Russian relations can continue to develop in areas of mutual interest, respecting the values important for each of our countries.
“Therefore, we appeal to the Embassy of the Russian Federation to withdraw the note submitted today.”