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Russian Foreign Ministry expels Bulgarian diplomat in tit-for-tat move

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A Bulgarian police officer stands in front of Russian embassy in Sofia.
A Bulgarian police officer stands in front of Russian embassy in Sofia.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Valentina Petrova 2014
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Russia’s Foreign Ministry has expelled a Bulgarian diplomat in retaliation after the expulsion of a Russian diplomat by Sofia.

The ministry said in a statement it had summoned Bulgaria’s ambassador to inform him that Lieutenant Colonel Mitko Borisov, the embassy’s assistant military attaché, had been declared persona non grata.

The diplomat has been ordered to leave Russia within 72 hours.

The move comes after Bulgarian authorities earlier this month expelled Russia’s military attaché "due to actions incompatible with his diplomatic status".

Prosecutors alleged that he had "collected information constituting a state secret" since 2017, and had informed Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister.

Russia has said the expulsion of its diplomat from its embassy was "unjustified".

The diplomat was the sixth Russian envoy to be expelled by NATO member Bulgaria since October 2019 for suspected espionage.