Bulgaria Expels Russian Diplomats for Espionage

The Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the Russian Embassy that two of its staff have been declared “persona non grata” for alleged espionage and were ordered to leave the country within 72 hours.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs received a letter from the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Bulgaria stating that the two diplomats had carried out activities in the country that are incompatible with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” said the ministry.

The two diplomats were identified on Bulgarian national television as Maxim Ribkin, first secretary in the Russian embassy, and Alexander Zinkin, the second secretary.

The expulsion of Ribkin and Zinkin followed the arrest of six individuals suspected of espionage activity for allegedly releasing classified information about NATO and European Union activities in Bulgaria to Russia as well as details about the capabilities of the army.

The ministry claimed that it received information from the prosecution that the two diplomats were involved in the case but gave no other details. 

(We)“regret that once again this unfounded action by the Bulgarian authorities will not contribute to constructive dialogue between Russia and Bulgaria. Russia reserves the right to take retaliatory measures,” said the Russian Embassy on Facebook after the expulsion. 

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