Moscow [Russia], June 16 (ANI/Sputnik): The dismissed head of the State Intelligence Agency of Bulgaria, Atanas Atanasov, said on Wednesday that the Kremlin had a role in his removal from the post.
The cabinet justified the decision to replace Atanasov by the lack of objectivity, impartiality, and political neutrality in the agency under his leadership.
Atanasov at a press conference rejected such allegations.
"The main reason for my removal is the long arm of the Kremlin and the actions agreed with a well-known businessman... Successful work against Russian influence, I mean the Russian intelligence agencies, is the reason behind my dismissal," he said, as cited by the BGNES news agency.
Antoine Gechev, a former deputy head of the military intelligence service in the country's Defense Ministry, has been appointed to the position.
Atanasov's resignation came a few months after a scandal involving allegations of espionage by Russian citizens.
On March 22, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry declared two staffers of the Russian embassy in Sofia persona non grata over their alleged involvement in espionage.
Earlier in March, the National Prosecutor's Office brought espionage charges against six Bulgarian citizens, including servicemen and public servants, for allegedly transferring classified data to a foreign nation. The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry later linked the suspects to the Russian Embassy in Sofia.
The Russian diplomatic mission in Sofia said it expected the proceedings in the case to be depoliticized, and speculation about Russia's alleged involvement to stop. (ANI/Sputnik)