SOFIA, September 24./TASS/. Bulgaria’s intelligence services and the public prosecutor’s office have collected enough data to accuse Russian diplomats of espionage and expel them from the country, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said on Thursday.
The prime minister came out with this statement on Thursday after the Russian Embassy in Sofia slammed this decision as unfounded. According to Boyko Borisov, he warned that "there are certain things that are inadmissible on the territory of Bulgaria, and everyone trying to engage in espionage will be duly checked and expelled," from the country.
"The State Agency for National Security and the prosecutor’s office had enough grounds for these moves," the prime minister told a briefing, and the video of the event has been uploaded to his Facebook page.
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 gratae, 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 gratae 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.