Russian diplomats declared personae non gratae leave Bulgaria

Russian diplomats who were declared personae non gratae in Bulgaria on Friday have left that country, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Bulgaria told TASS on Sunday.

“The Russian diplomats left Bulgaria on Sunday,” the spokesman said.

Bulgaria’s foreign ministry said on Friday that one Russian diplomat had been declared persona non grata and one Russian embassy’s technical staff member had been declared an undesirable person. Both were given 48 hours to leave the country.

Following the incident, the Russian foreign ministry stressed that Bulgarian side had given no evidence to back it decision to expel the Russian diplomats. The ministry warned that the Russian side reserved the right for tit-for-tat measures.

The Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office reported on its website on January 24 that pre-trial probes involving two Russian diplomats as part of an espionage case had been launched. According to the prosecutors, their illegal activities included elections and the energy sector. In accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Bulgaria halted criminal proceedings against the two Russian citizens. However, the Prosecutor’s Office claims that there are grounds for indicting them.