Russia expels 14 Bulgarian diplomats in tit-for-tat response

Moscow has ordered 14 Bulgarian diplomats to leave Russia in response to Sofia’s expulsion of 70 Russian diplomats more than a month ago, the Foreign Ministry here has announced.

The Bulgarian ambassador had been called in, “when a ministerial note was handed over in which 14 staff members of the Bulgarian diplomatic and consular service in Russia were declared personae non gratae”, dpa news agency quoted the Ministry as saying on Friday.

Moscow made clear that the move was in reaction to Bulgaria’s expulsion at the start of July of 70 Russian diplomats and the closing of the Russian consulate in Ruse near Bulgaria’s northern border with Romania.

Sofia at the time justified the expulsions by accusing the diplomats of spying.

Moscow has threatened to break off diplomatic relations with Bulgaria.

There are considerably more Russian diplomats posted to Bulgaria than there are Bulgarian diplomats in Russia.

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