Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Kiril Petkov are shaking hands at a joint news conference on April 28, 2022, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues in Kieu, Ukraine.
Valentin Ogirenko | Reuters
According to Russian diplomats, according to Russian diplomats, two Russian planes are scheduled to leave Bulgaria on Sunday, amid heightened tensions among historic countries. There are dozens of Russian diplomatic staff and their families.
Philip Boscressensky, a high-ranking Russian diplomat, told journalists at an airport in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, last week that he was a “persona non grata” and ordered 70 Russian diplomatic staff to leave the country by Monday. He said he was one of them.
The decision to expel Bulgaria was announced by Acting Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, who showed a strong stance against Russia after the invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Petkov, who lost his distrust on June 22, claimed that Moscow used “hybrid warfare” tactics. To defeat his government.
Petkov said Russia will retain 43 employees after its expulsion, and that Bulgaria has only 12 diplomatic staff in Moscow.
“Anyone who goes against the interests of Bulgaria will be called back to the country they came from,” he said.
On Friday, Russian ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova issued an ultimatum to Bulgaria, overturning that decision and threatening Moscow to cut off diplomatic relations altogether.
In a statement, she said, “In front of my country’s leadership, I intend to urgently raise the issue of the closure of the Russian embassy in Bulgaria, which inevitably leads to the closure of the Bulgarian diplomatic mission in Moscow. Would be. “
The expulsion, which has severely strained diplomatic relations, is the largest number of Russian diplomats in history exiled by the European Union and NATO member Bulgaria. Bulgaria has strongly supported western sanctions against Moscow since it began its war with Ukraine more than four months ago.
The European Union, which Bulgaria has been a member of since 2007, responded to Russia’s “injustice threat” and said it “is in full support and solidarity with Bulgaria.”
In late April, Russia cut off gas supplies to Bulgaria after authorities rejected Moscow’s request to pay for gas in the Russian currency, the ruble. The Bulgarian defense minister was also banished in early March for calling the Russian war a “special military operation,” the Kremlin liked.