05:08 GMT21 October 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Bulgarian Chief Public Prosecutor Ivan Geshev has officially informed the country's Foreign Ministry about the results of the probe into actions of two Russian diplomats expelled from Bulgaria earlier in the year, noting that the two were engaged in espionage activities to obtain information on the army modernisation plans.

    Bulgaria is expelling two Russian diplomats on suspicion of espionage, Reuters news agency said Wednesday, citing the country's Foreign Ministry.

    They reportedly have 72 hours to leave the country.

    "During the pre-trial investigation, it was established that in the period from 2016 to the present, two citizens of the Russian Federation carried out intelligence activities to obtain information about plans to modernise the Bulgarian army. Their goal was to transfer the collected information, including official and state secrets, to the Russian military intelligence in Moscow", the prosecution said in a statement.

    The statement noted that both Russian suspects had diplomatic status, and therefore the criminal case against them was discontinued.

    In January, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry ordered two Russian diplomats out on suspicion of espionage. The Bulgarian Prosecutor General's office held a pretrial investigation into the two diplomats, but the case was suspended due to diplomatic immunity. According to prosecutors, one of the individuals worked at the consulate department of the Russian Embassy in Sofia, while the other worked for the Russian trade mission.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry in January called Bulgaria’s expulsion of the Russian diplomats an "unfriendly and provocative" step. The ministry noted that Sofia had failed to present any credible justification for the decision, adding that Moscow reserves the right to take retaliatory measures.

    Tags:
    espionage, Russian diplomats, diplomats, Russia, Bulgaria
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