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Russian Ambassador to Sofia Blames US for Expulsions of Russian Diplomats From Bulgaria

CC BY-SA 3.0 / MrPanyGoff / Russian embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Russian embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria. - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.10.2021
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria Eleonora Mitrofanova has accused the United States of forcing Bulgaria's hand after the European nation expelled several Russian diplomats in spring.
"I think Bulgaria did not act independently in this story… The Americans apparently want to squeeze Russia out of every sphere of Bulgarian life", she told Sputnik in an interview.
Mitrofanova argued that any attempt to make Russia leave Bulgaria was a "utopia" because the two eastern Orthodox nations have strong historical connections.
Bulgaria expelled several Russian diplomats in March and April after accusing them of spying and blaming Russia for alleged involvement in four explosions at arms depots.

Russia Ready to Engage Bulgaria After Snap Elections

Russia will work with the next Bulgarian government whatever its makeup, the Russian ambassador told Sputnik ahead of snap elections.
"We will of course work with any government," Eleonora Mitrofanova said in an interview.
Mitrofanova said the diplomatic mission would look for compromise and try to forge a pragmatic relationship with Bulgaria.
Bulgarians will go to legislative and presidential polls on 14 November after no party was able to form a government. This will be the third parliamentary elections this year after two inconclusive votes in April and July.

Russian Ambassador Rules Out Breakdown in Ties With Bulgaria

Mitrofanova noted she did not expect the two countries to downgrade or sever their ties after a series of diplomatic scandals put a strain on them.

"You cannot say anything for sure, seeing the chaos we live in… But I don’t think we will see this kind of confrontation. I hope that we have turned this page of what I think are groundless expulsions," Mitrofanova said in an interview.

Bulgaria Did Not Seek Russian Help With Probe Into Arms Depot Blasts

The Russian embassy in Sofia was not contacted over Bulgaria’s investigation into Russia’s alleged role in arms depot blasts, the Russian ambassador added.
"No, we have no such data. No one contacted us," Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova said in an interview after she was asked whether Bulgaria sought the embassy’s help.

Bulgaria Could Sign Long-Term Gas Deal With Russia

Eleonora Mitrofanova stressed that the eastern European nation could sign a long-term gas deal with Russia, following Hungary’s move to secure supplies amid a gas crunch.

"This outcome is of course possible, provided that [Bulgaria] approaches it pragmatically and has enough political will," Mitrofanova said in an interview.

The diplomat added that Bulgaria’s caretaker government did not look at this option.
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