MOSCOW, July 4. /TASS/. Russia will reciprocate the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Bulgaria, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference following talks with Venezuelan counterpart Carlos Faria on Monday.
"As for the actual state of things on the ground, so to speak, the people who Bulgaria illegally expelled, declaring them personae non gratae, they, most of them, were ensuring the functioning of our diplomatic missions," the top diplomat said. "Now after this stunt, which is absolutely illegal, according to estimates of the Foreign Ministry, the embassy is not able to work normally. Naturally, we will reciprocate" this move from Bulgaria, Lavrov explained.
The top diplomat stressed that the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Bulgaria was not an independent move from acting Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov. "The commentary here, in my opinion, is evident. This is a spoon-fed decision of the acting prime minister, who has an absolutely open, unambiguous pro-American orientation and is ready to comply with any wishes of his sovereign," he said.
"And the wishes of the sovereign are to kill the historical memory in Bulgarians, to destroy the foundation of relations strengthened in the joint struggle for independence and in many other situations, including in recent history," Lavrov went on to say.
According to the top diplomat, this policy by Washington does not apply only to Bulgaria. "They also want to kill the historical memory of other peoples in the Balkans, primarily the Orthodox peoples, by the way. So, there is no need to comment here, except to add that in Bulgaria itself, Bulgarian leadership took with surprise the decision announced by the acting prime minister that was not based on the procedure established in Bulgaria for this kind of abrupt moves," he added.
On June 28, Bulgaria’s authorities announced a decision to expel 70 Russian diplomats and technical personnel of Russian diplomatic missions. Minister-counsellor of the Russian embassy Filipp Voskresensky, Consuls General in Varna and Ruse, Vladimir Klimanov and Andrey Gromov, director of the Russian Information and Culture Center Yury Makushin are among them.
Due to the lack of personnel, the embassy’s consular service and Russia’s consulate general in Varna suspend their operation.