Sofia City Court has approved the issuance of European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) for six Russian citizens accused by Bulgaria of terrorism in connection with four explosions between 2011 and 2020 at ammunition depots in Bulgaria.
This was announced by the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office on January 30.
An investigation had established that Bulgaria had been visited by six Russian citizens who used false identities.
The Russian nationals were engaged in the detonation of the production of a commercial company producing weapons, the Prosecutor’s Office said.
In 2021, the Prosecutor’s Office said that the poisoning of arms dealer Emilian Gebrev in 2015 was connected to four explosions in military warehouses in Bulgaria.
At the time, the Prosecutor’s Office said: “In the past 10 years, a number of cases of explosions in warehouses and production premises of factories for the utilization of explosives, production of weapons and ammunition have been registered”.
It said that an analysis had established similarities in four of the explosions.
The first case was in November 2011 in the village of Dolni Dol, when a warehouse owned by Gebrev’s EMCO company was blown up. A significant amount of ammunition destined for export to Georgia was destroyed.
The second case was in 2015 near the village of Iganovo, when a Sopot VMZ warehouse where EMCO products were also stored, was blown up. The same year, another Sopot warehouse was destroyed.
The fourth case was in 2020, when an Arsenal warehouse was blown up near the city of Muglizh.
“In all four cases, no specific reasons have been established for the explosions in the warehouses. There were no victims or injuries. It was categorically established that the charges were triggered remotely,” prosecutors said at the time.
Before the explosions, there had been fires, to get people to evacuate.
The statement indicated that there were suspicions that Bulgarian citizens may have been complicit in the explosion, but did not make clear what progress had been made on this angle.
The issuance of the warrants – in effect, a re-issue – follows legislative changes that require court authorisation for the issue of European Arrest Warrants.
(Photo: Jason Morrison)