The Moscow embassy in Sofia has stopped issuing tourist visas to Bulgarians and will only allow travel to the country to people with direct relatives in Russia, according to state media Bulgarian national radio reported.
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Russia would react in the same way as Bulgaria, which expelled 70 Russian diplomats last week.
Lavrov commented on the incident at a press conference after talks with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Carlos Faria in Moscow. “Following this completely illegal action, the (Russian) Foreign Ministry declares that the embassy (in Sofia) cannot function normally. Naturally, we will respond to our Bulgarian colleagues,” Lavrov said, as quoted by CASS and BGNES.
Even after the expulsion of diplomats, the Russian mission in Bulgaria can number more than 40 people. In contrast, the Bulgarian diplomatic mission in Moscow has 12 employees. The Russian Foreign Minister stressed that the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Bulgaria was not an independent decision of the future ex-Prime Minister Kiril Petkov.
“This is a decision not independent of the current Prime Minister, who has an absolutely open and unequivocal pro-American orientation, who is ready to grant any wish of his sovereign,” he said. he declares. According to him, this Washington policy does not only apply to Bulgaria.
On June 28, the Bulgarian authorities decided to expel 70 Russian diplomats and technicians, including the Minister Plenipotentiary of Russia Philip Voskresensky, as well as the Russian consuls general in Varna, Ruse Vladimir Klimanov, and Andrey Gromov, the director of the Center cultural and information Russian Yury Makushin.
The Russian ambassador in Sofia, Eleonora Mitrofanova, has offered to close the embassy and is awaiting Moscow’s response.