Bulgaria expels 70 Russian diplomats

site.btaUPDATED PM Petkov Says Decision on Russian Diplomats' Expulsion Did Not Come from Him, Was Based on Three Reports by State Agency for National Security

PM Petkov Says Decision on Russian Diplomats' Expulsion Did Not Come from Him, Was Based on Three Reports by State Agency for National Security
PM Petkov Says Decision on Russian Diplomats' Expulsion Did Not Come from Him, Was Based on Three Reports by State Agency for National Security
Kiril Petkov talks to reporters before the hearing (BTA Photo)

Outgoing Prime Minister Kiril Petkov Wednesday said the decision to expel 70 Russian diplomats did not come from him but was based on three reports by the State Agency for National Security (SANS). Petkov talked to reporters before Parliament's closed-door hearing on the expulsion he announced on Tuesday evening. He added that there had been a report by the Foreign Ministry and a decision of the Government's Security Council.

The hearing was requested by the BSP for Bulgaria. Besides Petkov, Parliament also heard the leadership of the State Agency for National Security (SANS), the State Intelligence Agency and the Defence Intelligence Service. 

Petkov said a Security Council meeting on June 9 was attended by the ministers of interior, foreign affairs, defence and e-government, a deputy finance minister, the Chief of Defence, the Chief Secretary of the Interior Ministry, the SANS Chairman, the Chairman of the State Intelligence Agency, the Director of the Defence Intelligence Service, the Chief of the National Service for Protection, the Security Council Secretary and a representative of the presidential institution.

The Prime Minister said the reports dated from May and June and some of the information dated from as far back as March. He said he would inform the MPs of the entire chronology of events.

After the hearing, which lasted over three hours, Petkov said the idea that a single person was responsible for the decision to expel the 70 Russian diplomats and staff from Bulgaria was yet another attempt at political manoeuvring. 

Petkov expressed hope that after the hearing the MPs would be convinced that the expulsion was a long process, which began in March and was finalized by the Foreign Ministry by notifying the Russian diplomats they must leave the country, and not a decision Petkov made single-handedly.

Regarding the Russian diplomats, Petkov said that at the moment the Russian Embassy has about 40 employees, which is a large number compared to other European countries.

GERB-UDF: Chaos in Decision Making Highlighted by Parliament's Hearing 

GERB-UDF floor leader Desislava Atanassova said Parliament's hearing of outgoing Prime Minister Kiril Petkov showed once again the chaos in decision making. It did not become clear who makes decisions in the Council of Ministers and the Government's Security Council, Atanassova said. 

"Petkov is trying to hide behind Foreign Ministry staff and some reports. It did not become clear in the plenary how decisions are made," said Atanassova.

"Decisions about domestic and foreign policy are taken by the Council of Ministers and Kiril Petkov is Prime Minister. There is also the Security Council, which makes decisions, and it is also headed by Kiril Petkov. This is totally absurd," she said.

Asked by BTA if Petkov could have been misled, Atanassova said they had not seen any documents and could not make assumptions. If the National Assembly asks for access to them, they could probably be sent to the classified records office, she said.

/DD/

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By 12:25 on 04.10.2022 Today`s news

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