Russia shows diplomat door
– Russia said yesterday it was expelling a Bulgarian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move after Sofia asked a Russian diplomat to leave the country over suspicions of espionage.
The Russian foreign ministry said the Bulgarian ambassador in Moscow, Atanas Krastin, had been handed a note informing him that an employee had been declared persona non grata.
“The step is a retaliatory measure in response to a decision by the Bulgarian authorities to expel a Russian diplomat from the country in October,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. No details were provided. In October, Sofia expelled a Russian diplomat after he ignored a request to leave following a probe which confirmed he had been spying in the European Union member country.
The Russian ambassador was told at the time that the diplomat in question, a first secretary at the embassy in Sofia, had 24 hours to leave the country.
Bulgaria is a rare ally of Russia in Europe.
In September Bulgarian prosecutors charged pro-Russian activist Nikolay Malinov with espionage and banned his alleged Russian handler from entering Bulgaria. Russian President Vladimir Putin has given him a state award. – AFP