Russia declares 14 Bulgarian diplomatic staff persona non grata

Move follows Sofia's decision to expel 70 Russian diplomats.

Russia declares 14 Bulgarian diplomatic staff persona non grata

Russian on Friday declared 14 Bulgarian consular and embassy staff “persona non grata” in response to Sofia's decision to expel Russian diplomatic personnel. 

Bulgaria’s Ambassador to Moscow Atanas Kristin was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry and handed a protest note over the unacceptable decision of Bulgarian authorities to expel 70 Russian diplomats, said a statement by the ministry.

“In response to the steps taken by the Bulgarian government to reduce the number of representatives of the Russian diplomatic mission, a note was given to Ambassador Kristin that 14 of Bulgaria’s employees in Russia were declared persona non grata,” the statement said.

On June 28, Bulgaria declared 70 Russian diplomats persona non grata, pushing Russian Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova to raise the issue of the embassy’s closure.

Currently, the work of all Russian diplomatic missions in Bulgaria has been suspended.

Many European countries have expelled Russian diplomats since Moscow sent troops to Ukraine on Feb. 24, with Russia responding in kind.

At least 5,237 civilians have been killed and 7,035 injured since the war began, according to UN estimates. The true toll is believed to be much higher.