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Russia reserves right to respond to Bulgaria’s expulsion of diplomats — ministry

The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman underlined that an anti-Russian "spy mania" exacerbated in Bulgaria

MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. Russia can respond in a mirror-like fashion to the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Bulgaria, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said in a statement Tuesday.

"In accordance with the diplomatic practice, Russia reserves the right to respond in a mirror-like fashion," she noted.

"We are calling on authorities in Sofia to stop participating in a witch hunt which affects national interests of Bulgaria itself. It is time to return to a constructive bilateral agenda which is much more natural for Russian-Bulgarian relations," she added.

The diplomat underlined that an anti-Russian "spy mania" exacerbated in Bulgaria, and it takes place on the eve of the upcoming general elections on April 4 as well as a general cooldown in relations between Russia and Western partners, primarily the US.

Last week, the Bulgarian prosecution informed that sex current and former employees of the national Defense Ministry and military intelligence had been detained on suspicion of spying for Russia. The operation was conducted with the support of the EU and the US. On Monday, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry declared two employees of the Russian embassy in Sofia personae non gratae and told them to leave the country within 72 hours.

In light of this, the Russian diplomatic mission underlined that it views Bulgaria’s decision as groundless and vowed to retaliate.