Work of Russian diplomatic missions in Bulgaria suspended after expulsion of 70 diplomats
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov promised on Monday to reciprocate Bulgaria’s decision to declare 70 Russian diplomats persona non grata.
Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, following a meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Carlos Faria, Lavrov said most of the diplomats, expelled from Bulgaria, provided the functioning of the Russian Embassy, and so after their expulsion, the diplomatic mission cannot work normally.
“The people whom Bulgaria illegally expelled, declared persona non grata, they, most of them, ensured the vital activity of our diplomatic missions.
“Now, after this completely illegal escapade, according to the assessment of the Foreign Ministry (of Russia), the embassy is not able to work normally. Naturally, we will reciprocate with our Bulgarian colleagues,” he said.
According to Lavrov’s assessment, Bulgaria’s decision about the expulsion was made under US pressure.
“This is not an independent decision of the acting (Bulgarian) prime minister, who has an absolutely open, unambiguous pro-American orientation, and is ready to fulfill any wishes of his sovereign.
“And the sovereign’s wishes are to kill the historical memory that Bulgarians have, to destroy the foundation of relations that have been tempered in the joint struggle for independence and in many other situations, including the recent history,” he said.
The minister added that the US wants “to kill the historical memory” of other peoples in the Balkans, first of all, Orthodox peoples.
“Bulgaria itself, the leadership of this country was surprised by the decision announced by the acting prime minister, which did not rely on the procedures established in Bulgaria for such sudden movements,” Lavrov noted.
On June 28, Bulgaria declared persona non grata 70 Russian diplomats, pushing Russian Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova to raise the issue of the embassy’s closure. Currently, the work of all Russian diplomat missions in Bulgaria has been suspended.
– Arrest of dry cargo ship with grain in Türkiye needs investigation
Asked about the alleged arrest of a Russian dry cargo ship with grain in Türkiye at Ukraine’s request, Lavrov said it needs a thorough investigation.
“The vessel seems to be really Russian, under the flag of Russia. It belongs, as far as I know, to Kazakhstan, and the cargo was under a contract between Estonia and Türkiye. It is necessary to investigate everything substantively,” he said.
About “the war against journalists” — the mutual ban of the Russian media in the West and the Western media in Russia — Lavrov said Moscow is interested in stopping it, but the West will not go for it because it does not know how to do it “without losing face.”
About the situation in Venezuela, Lavrov said it is now stabilized thanks to the actions of the country’s authorities.
“We welcome the progressive normalization of the situation inside Venezuela and around Venezuela, we see how, thanks to the responsible and competent policy of the government under the leadership of President (Nicolas) Maduro, the country is returning to the path of sustainable development,” he said.
Lavrov said he and Faria identically qualified the US decision to block the Russian and Venezuelan assets as “an undisguised plunder.”
He also said the two countries will further strengthen bilateral and international cooperation, including coordination in the UN.