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Russia expels Bulgarian diplomats — RT World News

The move comes after Sofia declared 70 Russian embassy staff ‘persona non grata’

Moscow has summoned the Bulgarian ambassador to announce its response to the expulsion of Russian embassy employees abroad. In a statement on Friday, Moscow said it said 14 employees of the Bulgarian embassy and consulate “persona non grata.”

The move comes after Sofia introduced a similar measure in late June against 70 employees of Russian foreign missions, accused by Bulgaria of working for Russian special services under the guise of diplomatic activities.

Bulgaria also introduced quotas for the number of Russian diplomatic and administrative staff in the country and temporarily closed the Consulate General in the town of Ruse.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the “The responsibility for the consequences of such counterproductive measures lies entirely with the Bulgarian government and its Prime Minister Kirill Petkov,” adding that such actions “cause significant damage to the traditional ties between our two countries”.

The move was indicative of the “a new degradation of the collective West” which sacrificed the interests of its partners in order to harm Russia, the ministry said, adding that Bulgaria “unfriendly acts” were regrettable.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hinted that Petkov’s action was “not an independent decision” as he has a “Open and unambiguous pro-American position and ready to grant all wishes of its sovereign.”

Lavrov explained that the “sovereign’s wishes” were “to kill the historical memory of the Bulgarians, to destroy the foundation of relations which have hardened in the common struggle for independence and in many other situations, including in recent history”.

The diplomat added that Washington’s policy extends not only to Bulgaria but to the entire Balkan region, where the United States wants “kill historical memory” of the people, primarily Orthodox Christians.

The “diplomatic war” between the West and Russia has escalated considerably since the launch of the Russian military offensive in Ukraine. In March, Bulgaria expelled twelve Russian diplomats, accusing them of violating the Vienna Convention.

The Russian Foreign Ministry estimated that around 400 diplomats have been expelled from 28 countries since late February. Moscow says it views the expulsions as “hostile” actions and warned that he would retaliate against all such moves.

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