Tensions are rising between Russia and Bulgaria – Financial

After Bulgaria announced the expulsion of 70 Russian diplomats, Russia threatened to close its embassy in Sofia. For its part, the Bulgarian government has called on Russia to withdraw its note and keep diplomatic channels open between the two countries.

Thus, Bulgaria’s interim prime minister Kiril Petkov on Thursday called on Russia to withdraw its “diplomatic ultimatum” threatening to close its embassy in Sofia if the Bulgarian government does not reconsider its decision to expel 70 Russian diplomats.

In Bulgaria, the prime minister remained interim after being fired by a motion of censure.

The Bulgarian government announced on Tuesday the expulsion of 70 Russian diplomats, claiming that they were working for the Russian secret services. The decision escalated tensions between Russia and Bulgaria, countries with traditionally good relations but which have deteriorated after Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, a pro-European who studied at the US at Harvard, strongly supported Ukraine in the wake of Russian aggression.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the decision to expel the 70 diplomats was taken by the Bulgarian government “at the request of foreign forces.”

The Bulgarian prime minister has been fired

Politically, the Bulgarian prime minister was fired last week by a motion of censure. President Rumen Radev would once again entrust him with the mandate to form the government, before convening the anticipations again.

In this regard, the Bulgarian Socialists, who were part of Petkov’s coalition, accused him of making the decision to expel Russian diplomats, which they consider unjustified, and announced that they would not support him for this reason. a new government led by the current prime minister.

Russia’s ambassador to Sofia, Eleonora Mitrofanova, is demanding that Bulgaria reconsider the expulsion of Russian diplomats by Friday. Otherwise, she will ask Moscow to consider the complete closure of the Russian embassy in Sofia.

However, the Russian ambassador did not make any public statement about this diplomatic note, but described the expulsion of Russian diplomats as an “unprecedented hostile step.”

Bulgaria wants to maintain relations with Russia

In this context, the Bulgarian prime minister on Thursday called on Russia to withdraw its note and keep open diplomatic channels between Bulgaria and Russia “in the spirit of past and future relations” between the two countries.

Thus, “We believe in the need for dialogue for which diplomatic channels are essential. For this reason, we call on the Embassy of the Russian Federation to withdraw the note filed today. For the sake of the past and for the sake of the future, we must be able to take steps forward through mutual respect, “said the Bulgarian prime minister.

In the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kiril Petkov adopted an unusually strong position of support for Ukraine, in the context in which Bulgaria enjoyed close ties with Moscow during communism. He fired the defense minister for refusing to describe Russia’s so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine as a war.

The Bulgarian prime minister also backed sanctions imposed by the European Union on Moscow and agreed that Bulgaria should repair damaged Ukrainian military equipment, Reuters reports.