Bulgaria ban two Russians accused of spying for Moscow from entering EU

Bulgarian police officers stand guard during a protest against Russian military actions in Ukraine, in front of Russian embassy in Sofia, Monday, March 3, 2014.
Bulgarian police officers stand guard during a protest against Russian military actions in Ukraine, in front of Russian embassy in Sofia, Monday, March 3, 2014. Copyright AP Photo/Valentina Petrova
By Euronews with AP
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The two Russians were living in Bulgaria under aliases as part of a mission to infiltrate foreign countries.

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Two Russian citizens suspected of spying on behalf of Moscow were banned from entering the European Union by Bulgarian authorities on Monday.

The two were identified by Bulgaria’s agency for national security as Vladimir Nikolayevich Gorochkin, 39, and Tatiana Anatolievna Gorochkina, 37. They will be banned from EU entry for five years.

The agency said that the couple were part of an operation orchestrated by Moscow's Foreign Intelligence Service trying to infiltrate foreign countries under false identities.

According to Bulgarian authorities, the couple had lived undetected in the country under the aliases Denish Rashkov and Diana Rashkova. Their mission in Bulgaria was to obtain authentic identity documents and credible biographical data confirming their authenticity, which could then be used to carry out intelligence activities outside of the country.

While official reports suggested the two were no longer in Bulgaria, it’s unclear when and why they left, or where they might currently be.

Bulgaria, which has backed the EU and West’s sanctions against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, expelled 70 Russian diplomatic staff in 2022, a move that strained ties between Moscow and Sofia.

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