Russia Threatens to Break Diplomatic Relations with Bulgaria

After Bulgaria created a domestic and an international storm on Tuesday with its decision to kick out the record number of 70 Russian diplomats, Moscow has given Sofia until mid-day today to reverse the decision, threatening to break diplomatic relations with the EU country.

Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria Eleonora Mitrofanova made it clear in an interview for the Bulgarian national television BNT that Russia could close the embassy and the Russian consulates altogether and recall all its 114 diplomats from Bulgaria over the scandal with the expelled Russian diplomats, actions by Sofia that Moscow saw as “unprecedented”.

According to the statement from Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry, Russia had sent on Thursday a diplomatic note demanding Sofia withdraw its own note declaring 70 members of the Russian embassy staff personae non grata.

Mitrofanova also stressed that it’s the US and the UK that are calling the shots in Bulgaria and that the expulsion of the diplomats, which are expected to leave Bulgaria on Saturday on a special flight, is at their command.

She conveyed Moscow’s threat at a time when the pro-Russian Bulgarian Socialist Party is hesitating to support a new government with a “Continuing Change” mandate.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov who resigned on Monday following a no-confidence vote, but still holds office pending an attempt to form another cabinet, said in a conciliatory tone that the relations with Russia had great importance for the fate of Bulgaria in history, branding them long-term and multi-layered.

Bulgarian Socialist Party is a coalition partner in Petkov’s outgoing cabinet and government sources pointed out that the Russian embassy’s actions will certainly put pressure on the Bulgarian political process, deepening the political crisis.

According to the latest poll by Alpha Research, Bulgarians have significant geopolitical hesitations despite the fact that their country is a NATO member with only 39% of Bulgarians wanting Bulgaria to be the West’s ally in a new Cold War.

Around 23% of the Bulgarians insist on an alliance with Russia and Belarus while nearly 30% are hesitant about which side they would support.

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