Bulgaria’s caretaker Cabinet has decided to relieve of duty the country’s honorary consul in Ukraine, Ivan Avramov, the government’s media service said on October 15.
Avramov is a Ukrainian citizen and was appointed honorary consul in March 2001. The consulate headquarters are in Donetsk with a consular district that covers the Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhia oblasts in Eastern Ukraine.
Avramov also received the Madarski Konnik order, first degree, in September 2001 from Bulgarian president Petar Stoyanov, for his contribution to Bulgarian-Ukrainian relations and “preserving the national spirit and traditions inside the Bulgarian community in Ukraine”.
The decision was prompted by “reports of participation in activities that could lead to the loss of Bulgarian prestige in Ukraine and have a negative impact on the relations between the two countries, as well as the efficient protection of the rights of the Bulgarian community in Ukraine,” the Cabinet statement said.
The statement did not give further details but said that “Avramov’s name is linked with reports about his involvement in activities against the Ukrainian state, which is a serious obstacle to carrying out the duties of an honorary consul.”
Reports in Bulgarian media have claimed that the Government’s decision was prompted by Avramov’s support for the separatist movements in Donetsk and Luhansk. He is also reported to have been an ally of the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and a member of the alleged network of businessmen and officials – referred to as Yanukovych’s “family” in Ukraine – accused of engaging in corrupt practices during Yanukovych’s term as president.
The Bulgarian Government’s decision means Avramov will lose his diplomatic immunity, allowing Ukrainian authorities to investigate him.