Bulgaria urges Russia to withdraw its ultimatum due to the threat of embassy closure

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov spoke in an interview with Reuters in Sofia, Bulgaria, on March 7, 2022. [Spasiyana Sergieva/Reuters]

Bulgarian foreign ministers urged Russia on Thursday to withdraw the final diplomatic consequences sent after Sophia expelled 70 Russian diplomatic staff, including a threat to close the Russian embassies in the Balkans.

Bulgaria, a member of the EU and NATO, expelled 70 Russian diplomatic staff on Tuesday due to concerns about espionage, breaking tensions between the two countries that were once closed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Moscow. He said he had set an upper limit on the size of the more

The move, announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the next Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, is the biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats by Sophia in recent years, and if it goes on, it will be more than half the size of Moscow’s diplomatic footprint in Bulgaria. right.

In a diplomatic document seen by Reuters, the Russian embassy on Thursday told Sophia to overturn the decision to expel by noon on Friday. Otherwise, the embassy said it would ask Moscow to consider completely ending Russia’s physical diplomatic presence in Bulgaria.

Russian ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova, who called the expulsion of Bulgaria an “unprecedented hostile step,” was not asked for comment.

In a statement, Petkov urged Russia to keep the diplomatic route between Moscow and Sofia open.

“We believe in the need for dialogue where diplomatic channels are key,” Petkov said.

“For this reason, I ask the Embassy of the Russian Federation to withdraw the memo submitted today. For the past and for the future, we must be able to move forward with mutual respect.” He said.

Petkov, who lost parliamentary distrust resolution last week, took an unusually strong stance against Russia against Ukraine for the leaders of the country, who enjoyed close ties with Moscow during the communist era.

He dismissed the Defense Minister for refusing to describe what Russia calls a “special military operation” against Ukraine as a war. He also upheld EU sanctions on Moscow and agreed to repair damaged Ukrainian military hardware in Bulgaria.

The expulsion angered the Bulgarian socialist Petkov’s coalition allies. They said they would not support the new cabinet he led on Wednesday. [Reuters] Bulgaria urges Russia to withdraw its ultimatum due to the threat of embassy closure

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