SOFIA, September 26. /TASS/. Russian diplomats, who were declared persona non grata in Bulgaria on espionage charges, left the country on Friday, Russia’s embassy in Sofia told TASS.
"The Russian diplomats left the territory of Bulgaria on Friday evening," the source said.
On Wednesday, the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office accused two employees from the Russian trade mission of espionage. The authorities insisted that the two had been engaged in alleged spying activities in Bulgaria since 2016, supposedly collecting data on plans to upgrade the Bulgarian army and maintain the technical readiness of military hardware. The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry declared the two personae non grata, giving them 72 hours to leave the country.
The Russian Embassy castigated the expulsion as baseless, emphasizing that no evidence had been furnished to confirm any sort of activity incompatible with their status.
On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry deplored the Bulgarian move. "We express regret over the decision by Sofia to declare employees of the Russian trade mission in Bulgaria as personae non grata based on far-fetched accusations," the ministry stressed. "We see this as a deliberate attempt to damage constructive Russian-Bulgarian cooperation," the ministry specified.
Tit-for-tat measures will be announced later, Russia’s foreign office promised.