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joi, 29 februarie 2024 - 21:38
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Bulgaria issues European arrest warrant for six Russian spies suspected of terrorism

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The Bulgarian prosecutor’s office on Tuesday issued a European arrest warrant for six Russian spies suspected of terrorist attacks targeting Bulgarian arms factories and warehouses, according to Euractiv.

Bulgaria has been investigating the attacks since the first explosion in the EMCO weapons factory near the village of Lovnidol in 2011. Euractiv understands that the attack targeted a large quantity of ammunition destined for Georgia.

“The investigation found that Bulgaria was visited by six Russian citizens who used false identities. They were involved in blowing up the production of a commercial company producing weapons,” the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office announced on Tuesday.

The arrest warrants have been approved by the Bulgarian court, which said that “a lot of evidence” has been collected against the six Russians, whose names have not yet been released.

According to unofficial information given to Euractiv, remnants of Russian-made explosive devices were found at the site of most of the blown-up factories and warehouses. Altogether nine attacks were reported since 2011.

The Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office is investigating five out of the nine incidents involving Bulgarian arms factories and warehouses in the last 13 years. Three of the investigations are about explosions aimed at the production of the private company EMCO, and the other two against the state weapons factories in the cities of Sopot and Kazanlak.

The latest explosion occurred on 25 June 2023 in one of EMCO’s weapons warehouses.

The Bulgarian military industry produces large quantities of Soviet-standard small arms and ammunition, which are exported to Georgia, Ukraine and other war zones. Bulgarian arms exports also saw a significant increase after the start of the war in Syria. Bulgaria exported weapons to Ukraine worth over $2.5 billion over the past two years.

In 2022, explosions occurred in warehouses owned by one of the most famous Bulgarian arms manufacturers and traders, Emilian Gebrev, with evidence showing that the attack was the result of sabotage.

In 2016, there was an assassination attempt against Gebrev with a substance similar to Novichok, for which the Bulgarian prosecutor’s office accused three other agents of Russian military intelligence. One of these spies is wanted by the UK authorities for the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in 2018.

EMCO was connected with the export of weapons to Ukraine and Georgia, which may explain the sabotage actions by the Russian military intelligence.