Earlier in the day, the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) reported that Sofia plans to expel two Russian diplomats over the so-called "spy scandal", citing a prosecutor’s request. The Russian embassy in Sofia has confirmed this decision.
"On March 22 of this year, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry announced the two diplomats of the Russian embassy in Sofia are persona non grata. We regret to state that this another groundless demarche of the Bulgarian authorities will not contribute to further building a constructive Russian-Bulgarian dialogue. The Russian side reserves the right to respond," the embassy said on its Facebook page.
Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva demanded that two Russian diplomats in Sofia who have been declared personae non-gratae, leave the country within the next 72 hours.
@MFABulgaria notified the 🇷🇺Embassy in 🇧🇬 that 2 of its diplomats had been declared persona non grata and should leave within 72 h. We received a letter from the Prosecutor's Office stating that they had carried out activities incompatible with the Vienna Convention. pic.twitter.com/JDRnTW6dDc— Ekaterina Zaharieva (@EZaharievaMFA) March 22, 2021
Earlier in March, the Bulgarian Prosecutor's Office said it started pre-trial proceedings against a group of people suspected of spying for Russia. The office also brought espionage charges against six Bulgarian citizens, including servicemen and public servants, who allegedly transferred classified data to Russia.