RUSSIA EXPELS 2 BULGARIAN DIPLOMATS IN RETALIATORY MOVE

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MOSCOW, APR 20 – In a tit-for-tat move, Russia expelled on Tuesday two Bulgarian diplomats — the first secretary and the envoy for trade and economic cooperation.

In a statement, published on its website, the ministry said the diplomats, declared persona non grata, have to leave Russia within 72 hours.

“This measure is a response to the decision taken in March this year by the Bulgarian side to declare ‘persona non grata’ two employees of the Russian Embassy in Sofia,” it noted.

On March 22, Bulgarian authorities declared two Russian diplomats persona non grata and asked them to leave the country within 72 hours, following an announcement by Bulgaria’s attorney general, who said six current and former employees of the country’s Defense Ministry and military intelligence were detained on suspicion of spying for Russia.

A district military court placed five of them in custody at the request of the prosecution, while one suspect was released on bail as the prosecutor’s office did not insist on his arrest.