MOSCOW, August 5. /TASS/. Bulgarian Ambassador to Moscow Atanas Krystin was invited to the Russian Foreign Ministry, where he was handed a note declaring 14 employees of the Bulgarian diplomatic mission and consular offices in Russia personae non gratae, the ministry said in a statement distributed on Friday.
"On August 5, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Russian Federation Atanas Krystin was invited to the Russian Foreign Ministry, where he was handed a note from the ministry declaring 14 employees of the Bulgarian diplomatic mission and consular offices in Russia personae non gratae," the ministry said.
This measure is the Russian side’s reaction to expulsion of 70 Russian diplomats from Bulgaria and introduction of quotas on the number of Russian diplomatic and administrative staff in Bulgaria as well as to closing of the Consulate General in Ruse. The Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that responsibility for the consequences of the counterproductive steps lies entirely on the Bulgarian government headed by Kiril Petkov.
"We believe that such actions not only significantly damage the traditional ties between our countries, and violate the rights of our compatriots, who were stripped of access to consular services, but also indicate further degradation of the collective West, which is ready to sacrifice the interests of its partners just to harm Russia. The unconditional following of this destructive line by the official Sofia is regrettable," the Foreign Ministry noted.
"We are convinced that the unfriendly steps towards Russia have nothing to do with the national interests of Bulgaria and its people," the Russian diplomatic office stressed.
On June 28, Bulgaria’s authorities announced a decision to expel 70 Russian diplomats and technical personnel of Russian diplomatic missions, including 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, and others. All of them were declared personae non gratae. Due to the lack of personnel, the embassy’s consular service and Russia’s consulate general in Varna suspended their operation.