The Russian ambassador to Bulgaria confirmed that the host country’s government has just ordered the expulsion of 10 Moscow’s diplomatic representatives there.
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry announced on March 18 that the expelled Russian diplomats will have to leave the country within 72 hours.
|Russian Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria. Photo: CGTN|
Regarding the reason for the expulsion, the Bulgarian authorities said: “According to the information of the competent authorities, the employees of the Russian Embassy in Bulgaria carried out activities inconsistent with the Vienna Convention on International Relations. diplomatic relations on the territory of Bulgaria”.
The statement did not specify which part of the Vienna Convention violated Moscow’s diplomatic representatives.
Russian Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova told Tass news agency that Moscow considers Sofia’s move “very unfriendly” and it has the right to respond.
According to Sputnik, earlier this week, Slovakia also ordered the expulsion of three Russian diplomats accused of espionage. Moscow vowed to retaliate against this decision of Bratislava.
Both Bulgaria and Slovakia are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The new move by the two countries comes as Moscow is stepping up its military offensive in Ukraine and NATO is increasing military aid to Kiev against Russian forces.
On the same day, the leader of Germany, another NATO member, had an hour-long phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the Ukraine crisis.
Reuters quoted a German government spokesman as saying that Chancellor Olaf Scholz had called on Putin to order a ceasefire. Scholz also stressed that the humanitarian situation in Ukraine needs to improve and the parties concerned need to make progress in finding a diplomatic solution as soon as possible.
Moscow has not yet commented on the German report.
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