Russia expels Bulgarian envoy in reciprocal move

TEHRAN, May 26 (MNA) – The Russian government has asked Sofia’s ambassador in Moscow, Atanas Krastin, to leave Russia within the next 24 hours in a ti-for-tat move.

“This is the mirror image response we warned about,” the RIA news agency cited a source in Russia’s foreign ministry as saying on Thursday, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s foreign ministry said on Thursday, Sofia’s ambassador in Moscow, Atanas Krastin, has been informed that the diplomat must leave Russia within the next 24 hours in line with diplomatic protocol. Moscow cited the “principle of reciprocity.”

Bulgaria, a member of NATO and the European Union but with close historic ties to Moscow, said in October it had requested the Russian diplomat’s recall after Bulgarian prosecutors determined that he had been involved in espionage.

Russia strongly opposed the expansion of NATO and the EU into eastern Europe. Bulgaria was Moscow’s most reliable ally in the region during Soviet times.

Despite periodic strains in their post-Soviet ties, however, Russia remains the biggest supplier of energy to Bulgaria.

KI/PR

News Code 173999

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