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Newsline: Russian diplomats to depart Bulgaria amid soaring tensions

Two Russian airplanes were set to depart Bulgaria on Sunday with scores of Russian diplomatic staff and their families amid a mass expulsion that has sent tensions soaring between the historically close nations, a Russian diplomat said. Filip Voskresenski, a high-ranking Russian diplomat, told journalists at the airport in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia he was among the 70 Russian diplomatic staff declared “persona non grata” last week and ordered to leave the country before Monday. (https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/russian-diplomats-depart-bulgaria-amid-soaring-tensions-86149785) Bulgaria’s expulsion decision was announced by acting Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, who lost a no-confidence vote on June 22, has claimed Moscow used “hybrid war” tactics to bring down his government. Petkov has said that Russia will retain 43 of its employees after the expulsion and noted that Bulgaria has just 12 diplomatic staff in Moscow. On Friday, Russian Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova issued Bulgaria an ultimatum to reverse its decision and threatened that Moscow would fully sever diplomatic ties.

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