Bulgarian prosecutors said today they are investigating whether the four arms depot blasts in 2011, 2015, and 2020 were part of Russian intelligence’s attempts to disrupt arms flow to Georgia and Ukraine.
In particular, the Bulgarian authorities said the production destroyed during the November 12, 2011 blast in the village of Lovnidol, at an EMCO company-owned warehouse, in two blasts at VMZ-Sopot military plant in 2015 in Iganovo village, and during the 2020 explosion at the Arsenal plant in the town of Kazanlak, were all destined to Georgia and Ukraine.
According to the Bulgarian prosecutors, the four explosions in Bulgaria had other similarities besides being destined for Georgia and Ukraine, including an absence of specific causes that led to the explosion, absence of causalities, and remote detonation.
The prosecutors also said the investigation found six Russian citizens in question resided in Bulgaria around the dates of the explosions.
“From the evidence collected so far, with a high level of confidence it is concluded that the purpose of the actions of Russian citizens was to cut off the supply of special products to Georgia and Ukraine,” noted the Bulgarian prosecutors.
Recalling the two large-scale explosions of ammunition storehouses in the Czech Republic in October 2014, which also contained products belonging to the EMCO trade company, the Bulgarian prosecutors said they are cooperating with Czech authorities to establish a link between the six Russian citizens in question and the explosions in the Czech Republic.
Earlier on April 17, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said there is “reasonable suspicion” that “secret agents” of the Kremlin’s foreign military intelligence were involved in the said 2014 ammunition storage explosions in the country’s southeast, and subsequently decided to expel 18 Russian diplomats.
Commenting on these accusations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov today remarked ironically that “it is good that we have not killed Archduke [Franz] Ferdinand yet. But, apparently, this [claim] is coming.”
Noteworthy that EMCO company, whose production was targeted in several explosions, is owned by major Bulgarian arms dealer Emilian Gebrev. In January 2020, Bulgarian prosecutors charged three alleged Russian spies, who reportedly entered into the country by using fake passports, of attempting to poison Gebrev, his son, as well as an EMCO company executive, in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, in 2015.
The Georgian authorities have not made any comments on the issue as of yet.