The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry has declared two Russian diplomats persona non grata.
They were given 72 hours to leave the country, bTV reported referring to a statement by the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, according to RFE/RL's Ukrainian service.
On March 22, the Bulgarian prosecutor's office reported that the two Russian diplomats had been conducting intelligence-related activities incompatible with diplomatic status.
The Russian Embassy in Sofia called this decision "another groundless demarche." They said that this would not contribute to the further building of a constructive Russian-Bulgarian dialogue.
Diplomatic warfare of Bulgaria and Russia
- On March 18, 2021, several people being suspected of spying for Russia were detained during a secret operation in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia.
- Earlier, in September 2020, Bulgaria launched pretrial proceedings on counts of espionage against two diplomats from Russia. Investigators believe that from 2016 to the present, the Russians have been collecting information for Russian military intelligence on plans to modernize the Bulgarian army and the technical suitability of its military equipment.
- In December 2020, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry declared a diplomat of the Russian Embassy persona non grata over actions incompatible with his diplomatic status.
- In January 2020, two Russian diplomats suspected of espionage were expelled from Bulgaria. They were the first secretary of the consular department of the Russian embassy and an employee of the trade mission of the Russian Federation. According to the Bulgarian authorities, the Russians collected information on the mechanisms of the electoral process in the republic, as well as data related to the energy sector.
- In October 2019, Bulgaria expelled the Russian embassy's first secretary suspected of espionage.