Bulgaria breaks up suspected Russia-linked spy ring | Inquirer News
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Bulgaria breaks up suspected Russia-linked spy ring

/ 08:42 PM March 19, 2021

Sofia, Bulgaria — Bulgarian prosecutors on Friday said six people had been arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia, among them several defense ministry officials in the EU and NATO member state.

The officials are accused of passing classified information to the head of the alleged spy ring, an ex-intelligence officer.

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His wife, who has joint Russian-Bulgarian nationality, “played the role of intermediary between (the ex-officer) and the embassy of the Russian Federation,” prosecution spokeswoman Siyka Mileva told a press conference.

Mileva said the wife allegedly passed on confidential information about Bulgaria and its EU and NATO partners to “an employee of the Russian embassy,” who in turn gave her money to pay the network.

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Mileva said that it was “the first time in our recent history” that such a spy ring had been uncovered.

Investigators said recordings of telephone conversations between the members of the group bear out the allegations.

There are also incriminating videotapes of the arrested defense ministry officials, described in a previous statement as military personnel.

Russo-Bulgarian relations have been hit by several spy scandals in recent years.

Between October 2019 and the end of 2020, five Russian diplomats and a technical assistant at the Russian embassy were expelled from Bulgaria.

Investigators said they had cooperated with Bulgarians to get access to sensitive information.

The rows have soured relations between the two former allies, which had maintained their close cultural, historical, and economic ties even after the fall of the communist regime in 1989.

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TAGS: arrest, Bulgaria, Defense, espionage, EU, Military, NATO, Russia, spy ring
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