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Moscow slams Russian diplomats' expulsion from Bulgaria


Russia on Wednesday slammed the expulsion of 70 Russian diplomats from Bulgaria, saying it was done at the behest of external forces.

"These external forces under false claims try to pit European states with Russia, cynically manipulate dependent governments and politicians, destroy everything that has been created on the European continent for decades," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news conference in Moscow.

The decision, she said, was an attempt by the parliament and Bulgarian Cabinet "to strike a devastating blow to relations with Russia and the remaining mechanisms of bilateral dialogue."​​​​​​​

Bulgaria on Tuesday said it will expel 70 Russian diplomatic staff for "working against Bulgaria's interests."

Turning to Ukraine, the spokeswoman reiterated that the Russian military hit an arms depot and not a shopping mall in Ukraine's city of Kremenchuk, and that the trade center caught fire after the ammunition began to detonate.

She questioned the Ukrainian authorities' decision to build an ammunition depot near a shopping mall.

"This is what we call hiding behind the back of civilians, using them as a shield, ... hostages to geopolitical interests," Zakharova said.

She added that Western arms deliveries to Ukraine have created threats for the global community as weapons could end up on black markets.

"Law enforcement agencies of a number of Western and Eastern European countries have already noted a significant increase in the volume of criminal trafficking of weapons that comes from the territory controlled by Kyiv,” she said.

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