The Embassy of Russia has stopped issuing tourist visas to Bulgarians and will only let visitors who have close family members who are living in Russia to enter the nation, the state-run Bulgarian National Radio announced on July 5.
On July 4, the Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, added that Russia would retaliate in the same way as Bulgaria, which has expelled over 70 Russian diplomats last week.
Lavrov stated about the incident during a press conference in Moscow after the discussions with Venezuelan Foreign Ministers Carlos Faria.
As per reports, Lavrov said, “Following this completely illegal action, the Russian Foreign Ministry states that the embassy in Sofia cannot operate in a normal way. Naturally, we will respond to our colleagues in Bulgaria.”
The Russian mission in Bulgaria still has over 40 employees, even after the diplomats were expelled. However, the diplomatic representation of Bulgaria in Moscow employs around 12 people.
The Russian Foreign Minister further noted that, “the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Bulgaria was not a unilateral plan made by the soon-to-be-former prime minister Kiril Petkov.”
The Plenipotentiary Minister of Russia, Philip Voskresensky, along with the Russian consuls general in Varna, Ruse, & Andrey Gromov, as well as the director of the Russian Cultural and Information Centre, Yury Makushin, were among the 70 Russian diplomats & technical personnel who were expelled by Bulgarian authorities.
The proposal to shut down the embassy was made by Eleonora Mitrofanova, the Russian ambassador in Sofia, & she is awaiting a response from Moscow.
As per the head of the Bulgarian Prime Minister’s office and a government spokesperson, Lena Borislavova, “Over the weekend that Bulgarian secret services have knowledge showing that Russia pays around €2000 per month to public figures, journalists & politicians to spread its propaganda in the country.
As per Borislavova, the money was given to prominent journalists, political scientists, analysts, and politicians in Bulgaria.