Bulgaria will recall its ambassador to Russia for consultations in response to “undiplomatic, sharp and rude” comments from the Russian ambassador to Bulgaria, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said on Thursday.
Russia’s ambassador to Bulgaria Eleonora Mitrofanova told a Russian TV channel this week that the Bulgarian people did not support the government’s rhetoric and position toward what Russia calls its “special operation” in Ukraine.
Bulgaria, Moscow’s closest ally during the Cold War but now a member of the European Union and NATO, has condemned Russia’s invasion of its neighbor a month ago.
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“We will call back our ambassador from Russia for consultations... Usually when one country calls back its ambassador for consultations, the other should follow and do the same,” Petkov told reporters in Brussels.
“I do not think there is a Bulgarian citizen who can be happy to see a foreign diplomat offending the Bulgarians and the Bulgarian government... We are a country that respects its institutions and such behavior is unacceptable.”
Sofia, which has cultural, religious and historical ties with Russia, has expelled 12 Russian diplomats over activities deemed incompatible with their status since the February 24 invasion. It has also warned the Russian embassy to avoid using offensive language in its social media posts.
Moscow says its “special military operation” aims to demilitarize Ukraine but Kyiv and the West say it is an unprovoked war of aggression.
Commenting on Wednesday on Mitrofanova’s interview, Petkov had said it was unacceptable for a foreign ambassador to speak on behalf of the Bulgarian people against the Bulgarian government and promised a proper diplomatic response.
The Russian embassy to Bulgaria said in a posting in its Telegram channel that Mitrofanova had outlined a point of view, based on an analysis of public opinion, and decried the public criticism from the Bulgarian premier.
Bulgaria to recall its ambassador to Russia for consultations