The prosecution says spies gathered information about Bulgaria, NATO, and the European Union
Bulgaria’s prosecutor’s office has announced charges of espionage in favor of Russia against six citizens of the republic, including high-ranking members of the defense and military intelligence ministry. The arrests were carried out by officers of the Bulgarian National Security Agency (DANS).
Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor, Ivan Geshev, told reporters that it was the first time since the end of World War II that such a large spy network had been uncovered in the country. Five of the accused were arrested in Sofia, one tried to escape and was later detained.
According to Siyka Mileva, spokeswoman for the Prosecutor General’s Office, a former high-ranking Bulgarian military intelligence officer was recruiting people with access to classified information about Bulgaria, NATO, and the European Union. The leader of the group used his wife to transmit the information he gathered to the Russian embassy in Sofia. The group operated for a long time, and the investigation continues.
Bulgarian media indicate that the organizer of the spy network had been trained in a GRU training center in the past.
The U.S. State Department issued a statement saying, in part: “The United States supports Bulgarian sovereignty and stands with Bulgarians against subversive activities on their territory.”
Bulgaria is a member of the EU and NATO. Over the past two years, it has expelled two Russian diplomats on suspicion of espionage.