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Russian diplomat slams Bulgaria banning her flight as ‘dangerous folly’

According to Maria Zakharova, this is the first time in history when the country's authorities forbid not even an airplane, but a private person to fly over their territory, since, according to the note of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, the Russian Foreign Ministry aircraft was allowed to fly over Bulgaria

MOSCOW, November 30. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has slammed Bulgaria’s decision not to let Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s plane fly over its territory if she is onboard as a "dangerous folly."

"It’s not just a mere folly, it is a dangerous folly of a schemer in Bulgaria’s government bodies. The matter is that air service is regulated by the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944. It interprets term "the territory of a State" as "the land areas and territorial waters adjacent thereto under the sovereignty, suzerainty, protection or mandate of such State." Airspace is not covered by the term "territory." Hence, the EU sanctions, which are illegal anyway, do not apply to nonstop flights by a person who is banned from entering this state," she wrote on her Telegram channel.

According to Zakharova, this is the first case in history when a country’s authorities ban not even a plane but an individual from flying over its territory, since, according to the Bulgarian foreign ministry’s note, the Russian foreign ministry’s plane was allowed to fly over Bulgaria.

"Did the Bulgarian officials think that we can use similar measures against thousands of NATO officials who are on our reciprocal blacklists in response? Did they think that they have created a dangerous precedent? I don’t think they did. Who has authorized the illiterate officials in Sofia to discredit the Bulgarian people? <…> By the way, we are in Skopje now," she added.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has arrived in the North Macedonian capital city of Skopje to take part in the OSCE ministerial meeting. His plane flew over Greece, although it was originally planned too fly across Bulgaria. The route was changed after the Bulgarian side denied the entry into its airspace to Lavrov’s plane as Zakharova was onboard.