Bulgaria deports Russian envoy over spying allegations

SOFIA, Bulgaria

A Russian diplomat serving in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia has been deported for collecting classified information for over a year, prosecutors in Sofia said on Monday.

The prosecutor’s office said it had received information from the national security agency that the Russian Embassy’s first secretary was involved in espionage.

A probe said the diplomat — whose name was not released — had been identified as collecting classified information about Bulgaria, the European Union, and NATO since last September.

Bulgaria — a former Warsaw Pact country — joined the NATO alliance in 2004, and became an EU member in 2007.

The person under surveillance was investigated for committing crimes against the state, and evidence of his crimes was incontrovertible, said prosecutors.

The diplomat also paid money to his sources of information, it added.

Prosecutor Sotir Tzatzarov said they had closed the investigation because the suspect had diplomatic immunity, but Tzatzarov met with Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva on taking necessary action.

A written statement by the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry confirmed that the diplomat left Bulgaria.

*Writing by Dilara Hamit in Ankara
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