Bulgarian prosecutors said Wednesday they have established links between six Russian nationals who spent time in Bulgaria and four explosions at arms depots in the country between 2011 and 2015.
“We have very reliable evidence which leads to the conclusion that the goal (of the blasts) was to stop munitions deliveries” to Ukraine and Georgia, prosecution spokeswoman Siyka Mileva told a press conference.
The four explosions did not cause any casualties and were all triggered remotely in a “similar” fashion, according to Mileva.
The depots were used by a company called Emco, headed by Bulgarian arms dealer Emilian Gebrev.
In April 2015 Gebrev, his son and an executive from his company were victims of a poisoning attempt.
Prosecutors now say they have “extremely well-founded suspicions” the attempted poisoning and explosions may be linked.
In addition they have pointed to links with “serious crimes perpetrated in other countries”, an allusion to an explosion at a Czech arms depot in 2014 and the 2018 attempted poisoning of ex-double agent Sergei Skripal in the UK.
“We are in touch with the Czech Republic, to see if there is a Russian connection,” said Mileva.
Last week Prague accused Russian secret services of being behind the explosion in the Czech Republic in 2014, leading to a crisis in relations with Russia, which denies involvement in the blast.
Gebrev had munitions stored at the Czech depot, close to the village of Vrbetice.
In a statement Emco did not respond directly to prosecutors’ latest findings but accused them of being slow to act in the case after “hiding the activities of the Russian secret services for years”.
According to Ukranian sources cited by the investigative site Bellingcat, Emco “played a crucial role in boosting Ukraine’s defense capability at a time when its territorial integrity was at stake”.
According to those same sources Emco was the “only possible foreign-based provider of munitions for Ukraine’s army”.
Three Russians were charged last year in Bulgaria in absentia in connection with the attempted poisoning of Gebrev, one of them a Russian intelligence officer who is also thought to be a suspect in the Skripal affair.
Russia expels Bulgarian diplomats in tit-for-tat move after spying accusationsRussia said on Monday it was expelling two Bulgarian diplomats in a tit-for-tat move after two Russians were ordered out of the EU country on ... World News
Bulgaria COVID-19 hospitalizations jump to record highThe number of coronavirus patients in Bulgarian hospitals has risen to 8,545, the highest level since the start of the pandemic last March, official ... Coronavirus
Bulgaria’s Borissov loses quarter of seats in parliament, no clear path to hold powerBulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov lost around a quarter of his seats in parliament, leaving him with no clear path to hold on to power after ... World News
Bulgarian cave remains reveal surprises about earliest Homo sapiens in EuropeDNA extracted from remains found in a Bulgarian cave of three people who lived roughly 45,000 years ago is revealing surprises about some of the first ... World News