EU member dismissed Russian demand – Moscow
Bulgaria has “unfortunately brushed aside” a Russian ultimatum regarding the expulsion of 70 employees of its embassy in Sofia, the Russian envoy to the country said on Friday. Elvira Mitrofanova said she will be recommending that the Russian government delivers on its threat to sever relations with the host country.
The Russian embassy warned Sofia on Thursday that diplomatic ties between the two nations could be entirely cut, and that “the responsibility for the extremely serious consequences for the bilateral relations will be fully on Bulgaria’s head.”
Acting Bulgarian Prime Minister Kirill Petkov, whose government was disbanded last week after losing a confidence vote in parliament, announced the mass expulsions a day after he was tasked by the president with forming a new coalition. The premier claimed that most of the 70 diplomats were intelligence agents working under diplomatic cover, citing reports from Bulgarian security agencies.
Bulgarian President Rumen Radev called on Petkov to hold an emergency meeting of his interim government to evaluate the situation. He said whatever decision the government takes should “be in line with the requirements of national security and the interest of thousands of Bulgarian citizens living in Russia.”
“They cannot be left without diplomatic assistance. Decisions regarding national security cannot disregard the risks of escalations and economic damage,” the statement said.