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Archive for Bulgaria

Newsline: Bulgaria summons Russia’s ambassador

Bulgaria protested to Russia on Thursday for putting Bulgarian investigative journalist Christo Grozev on a wanted list, with its prime minister criticising the move as an intimidatory tactic designed to muzzle free speech. The foreign ministry summoned Russia’s ambassador to Sofia, Eleonora Mitrofanova, to deliver the protest. (https://neuters.de/world/europe/bulgaria-summons-russian-envoy-over-bellingcat-journalist-grozev-2022-12-29/) Grozev, chief investigator on Russia for the Bellingcat news outlet, is “wanted under an article of the Criminal Code,” according to information published on Russia’s interior ministry website this week. Interim PM Galab Donev said Bulgaria would demand full information from Russia on why Grozev had been put on the list. “This act is unacceptable. It represents an attack on freedom of speech and an attempt to intimidate a Bulgarian citizen,” Donev told reporters. Grozev has angered Moscow with investigations into the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and the downing of the MH17 passenger plane over eastern Ukraine. Russia has denied responsibility for any of those attacks.

Newsline: Bulgarian Embassy in Kyiv Open Again

The Bulgarian embassy in Kyiv is working again, as of September 12, 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday. The Bulgarian embassy in Kyiv will be headed by an interim director and will operate with a limited staff. (https://www.novinite.com/articles/216694/The+Bulgarian+Embassy+in+Kyiv+is+Working+Again) At this stage, the consular service at the embassy, also with a reduced team, will resume its activity, performing a limited range of services, and the idea is to operate after the complete restoration of communication channels with Bulgaria.

Newsline: Bulgarian, Latvian embassies in Moscow suspend visa processing for Russian citizens

The Latvian Embassy in Moscow announced Friday the suspension for an indefinite period of visa processing for Russian citizens “due to the international situation”. According to the diplomatic mission’s statement, visas will only be issued to those Russians whose entry to the country is related to the funeral of a close relative. (https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/latvian-embassy-in-moscow-suspends-visa-processing-for-russian-citizens/ar-AA10l0y2) Bulgaria will stop accepting documents for tourist visas for citizens of Russia, RIA Novosti reported. (https://www.novinite.com/articles/216192/Bulgaria+Suspends+Visas+for+Russians+with+Property+in+Bulgaria+and+for+Tourists+from+Russia) The measure applies to both tourists and property owners in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian consulate in Moscow explained to the Russians that the reason for the suspension of visas was the declaration on August 5 of 14 employees of the diplomatic missions and consular services of Bulgaria in Russia as persona non grata.

Newsline: Russia summons Bulgarian ambassador over expulsion of diplomats

Bulgaria’s ambassador was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday in connection with the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Bulgaria last month who had been accused of spying, the RIA news agency reported. (https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-russia-bulgaria-espionage-idUKKBN26X0YF) Moscow had promised retaliatory measures after the diplomats were declared ‘personae non gratae’. RIA showed footage of the ambassador arriving at the ministry.

Newsline: Bulgaria and Slovakia recalling ambassadors from Belarus

Bulgaria and Slovakia are recalling their ambassadors to Belarus for consultations in solidarity with Lithuania and Poland, their foreign ministers said on Thursday after meeting Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Bratislava. “Steps taken by Belarus authorities against other EU Member states are unacceptable. EU remains united in its support of people of Belarus,” Slovak Foreign Ministers Ivan Korcok tweeted. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-belarus-election-bulgaria-diplomacy/bulgaria-recalls-its-ambassador-from-belarus-foreign-minister-idUSKBN26T2L6) Poland and Lithuania recalled their ambassadors on Tuesday to defuse regional tensions after Belarus demanded they cut staff at their embassy for their “destructive” actions. Four more EU nations, including Germany, did same on Wednesday, to show support for Poland and Lithuania.

Newsline: Russian diplomats declared persona non grata leave Bulgaria

Russian diplomats, who were declared persona non grata in Bulgaria on espionage charges, left the country, Russia’s embassy in Sofia told TASS. “The Russian diplomats left the territory of Bulgaria on Friday evening,” the source said. (https://tass.com/politics/1205271) 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 grata, 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.

Newsline: Russia says regrets Bulgaria’s decision to expel diplomats, promises retaliatory measures

Moscow on Thursday expressed regret at Bulgaria’s decision to declare two Russian diplomats ‘persona non grata’ and promised details on retaliatory measures at a later date, the foreign ministry said in a statement. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bulgaria-russia-espionage-moscow/russia-says-regrets-bulgarias-decision-to-expel-diplomats-promises-retaliatory-measures-idUSKCN26F196) Bulgaria on Wednesday said it had expelled two Russian diplomats who prosecutors suspect were involved in spying, giving them 72 hours to leave the Balkan country, a move the Russian Embassy in Sofia described as “groundless”.

Newsline: Bulgaria expels two Russian diplomats accused of spying

Bulgaria has expelled two Russian diplomats who prosecutors suspect were involved in spying, giving them 72 hours to leave the Balkan country, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday. “Bulgaria’s foreign ministry has declared two Russian diplomats ‘personae non gratae’ and has informed the Russian embassy with a diplomatic note,” a ministry spokesman said. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bulgaria-russia-espionage/bulgaria-expels-two-russian-diplomats-accused-of-spying-idUSKCN26E2K2) EU and NATO member Bulgaria, which usually maintains good ties with Russia, has kicked out three other Russian diplomats over espionage allegations since last October. It also declined to grant a visa to Russia’s incoming defence attache in December.

Newsline: Bulgaria Recalls Embassy Official From Netherlands Over Illegally Collecting Coronavirus ‘Tax’

A senior official at the Bulgarian embassy in The Hague has been recalled for illegally collecting what he called a coronavirus tax from visitors seeking consular assistance, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said. The ministry said the head of the consular section in the Dutch city had been collecting 5 euros ($5.45) from Bulgarian visitors to the embassy as well as a 10 euro-tax from visitors from other countries.”Such behaviour is completely incompatible with the Bulgarian diplomatic service and cannot be tolerated in any way,” Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said in a statement. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-04-07/bulgaria-recalls-embassy-official-from-netherlands-over-illegally-collecting-coronavirus-tax) The ministry said disciplinary proceedings would be initiated, adding that explanations have also been sought from Bulgaria’s ambassador to Netherlands. The embassy did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Newsline: Bulgaria expels two Russian diplomats for espionage

Bulgaria expelled two Russian diplomats who prosecutors suspect were involved in espionage and gave them 48 hours to leave the Balkan country, the foreign ministry said on Friday. EU and NATO member Bulgaria, which traditionally keeps close links to Russia, expelled another diplomat over espionage allegations in October and declined to grant a visa to Russia’s incoming defense attache. The Russian Embassy in Sofia said the two diplomats would leave Bulgaria, but Moscow reserved its right to respond to their expulsions. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bulgaria-russia/bulgaria-expels-two-russian-diplomats-for-espionage-idUSKBN1ZN10K) The embassy said Sofia had handed diplomatic notes to the ambassador without providing any proof that the two had acted in a way incompatible with their status. Earlier on Friday Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zharieva said the two would most likely be expelled after the foreign ministry was informed about the prosecutors’ allegations.