Two planes to transport Russian embassy staff and families out of Bulgaria – The Sofia Globe

Two Russian planes were expected at Sofia airport on July 3 to transport 70 Russian diplomats, civil servants and their families after emissaries and staff were expelled from Bulgaria.

The expulsions were issued on the grounds that some posed a threat to Bulgaria’s national security, while the move was also aimed at reducing Russian embassy staff to an appropriate proportion to the number of Bulgarians in the country’s embassy. in Moscow. The Russians were given a July 3 deadline to leave Bulgaria.

Bulgarian national radio said the two Russian flights were scheduled for 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., and would carry more than 100 people.

Bulgarian aviation authorities have given special permission for the flights, needed because of EU sanctions – imposed due to Russia’s war on Ukraine – which prevent Russian flights from airspace of the block.

After the departure of the Russians, the staff of the country’s embassy in Sofia will drop from around 130 to 23 diplomats and 25 administrative and technical staff.

Outgoing Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said on June 28 that 70 Russian diplomats had been declared persona non grata in Bulgaria.

“We are expelling 70 Russian diplomats. Anyone who works for foreign interests will be called upon to return to their country of origin,” said Petkov, who praised the Bulgarian security services for their good work.

Russian Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova tried to block the deportations, giving the Bulgarian government an “ultimatum” at noon on July 1 to revoke the deportation order. This “ultimatum” was rejected by Petkov.

Mitrofanova said on July 1 that she recommended closing the Russian Embassy. The Kremlin said later in the day that the proposal had been forwarded to the Russian Foreign Ministry for consideration.

Within Bulgaria’s outgoing ruling coalition, the expulsion was described as welcome but belated by democratic Bulgaria, which for months also called for the expulsion of Mitrofanova because of his insulting and inappropriate behavior towards the Bulgaria, its government and its people.

At the same time, the expulsion angered the incumbent ruling coalition partner, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which called for his dismissal and suspended talks with Petkov’s We Continue Change party on a possible new government. coalition, until he asked that Petkov not be proposed. that the head of this government has been met.

(File photo: Rui Caldeira/sxc.hu)

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