SOFIA – Bulgaria expels two Russian diplomats for spying

Two Russian diplomats were declared ‘personae non gratae’ yesterday and given 72 hours to leave the country, Bulgaria’s interior ministry announced. Although Bulgaria’s prosecution office decided to open a case against them with the charge of espionage as a crime against the state, the criminal proceedings were suspended because they have diplomatic status and immunity, the Prosecution office said.

There is evidence that the two Russians reconnoitered information about plans to modernise the Bulgarian army and maintain army equipment, information they were suposed to pass to te Russian military intelligence in Moscow.

To carry out their activity considered illegal, the two persons also made contacts with Bulgarian citizens who had access to information related to the military-industrial complex of the country, the prosecution has said.

The criminal proceedings against the two Russians were suspended because they have diplomatic status and immunity.

The Russian embassy in Sofia stated that the two diplomats had been expelled without any evidence and there could be reciprocal actions.

In the past months there have been several cases of expulsion of Russian diplomats from Bulgaria because of espionage. (Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)

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