Emilian Gebrew survived two assassination attempts that used nerve agents similar to those used to attempt to assassinate former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in the UK.
In an interview with the Financial Times, he also claims that Russian intelligence has infiltrated the Bulgarian government because the authorities have so far been unable, or perhaps unwilling, to investigate and determine the exact circumstances of the attacks on its facilities.
— Bulgaria [była] too exposed and had a relaxed approach to the matter, offering GRU agents comfortable conditions to operate freely, Gebrew said.
— There were no results in any of the dozen or so cases regarding Russian terrorist acts and spy networks in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian added. — All investigations have been halted or stalled, and none have been brought to court.
Since 2011, there have been numerous explosions at Emco plants, including an explosion in a warehouse in June this year. Bulgarian authorities recorded at least four incidents in which shipments intended for Ukraine and Georgia were destroyed.
According to Veselin Ivanov, spokesman for the Bulgarian prosecutor’s office, six GRU officers have been charged in connection with the incidents. However, he stressed the difficulties of bringing them to justice because Russia does not extradite its citizens.
Although it is not possible to prove the claims of Russian infiltration in the local government, Bulgaria remains one of the most corrupt countries in the EU. There have also been speculations that the lack of action and competence of the justice system led to an increase in Russian activity in the country.
Emilian Gebrew survived two assassination attempts. Now he warns against Russia once again
The Dutch government also cited pervasive corruption and organized crime in its decision to block Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area.
However, the new coalition government in Bulgaria elected in July this year. promised to crack down on Russian influence in the security sector.-
Bulgaria has been a NATO member since 2004. It is one of the few countries capable of producing Soviet munitions outside Russia due to its communist past, and Russia’s war in Ukraine caused Bulgarian weapons production to skyrocket.
In particular, Emco is one of the few companies producing Soviet 125 mm tank shells outside Russia, which are used by Ukraine in the fight against the Russian aggressor.
Both public and private defense establishments are operating at maximum efficiency. We managed to double our production within a year
– explained Bulgarian Minister of Economy Bogdan Bogdanov.
The EU also promised to provide Ukraine with one million missiles. However, implementation is difficult due to the “deplorable state of the defense industry”. It is not known whether incidents involving Emco plants contributed to this situation.
Bulgaria’s historical ties with Russia have led to questions about the country’s position on the war in Ukraine. According to the survey, 58 percent Bulgarians oppose financing the purchase and delivery of military equipment to Ukraine, despite the general sentiment to support this country.
The Russian war in Ukraine may have served as a wake-up call for the Bulgarian government, which is currently rapidly modernizing its military.