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Bulgaria’s Prosecutor’s Office Probes into Series of Blasts in Munitions Warehouses

The prosecutor’s office compared four cases of blasts in ammunition depots in Bulgaria where similarity in incidents was noted. They’ve happened in the last 10 years, spokesperson of the Prosecutor General, Siyka Mileva, told a briefing on Wednesday.

The first incident is from November 12, 2011 – explosion in a warehouse of “Emco” near the village of Dolni Dol. A significant amount of ammunition and explosives destined for Georgia’s Ministry of Defense has been destroyed, Explained Siyka Mileva. The owner of the ammunitions is Emilian Gebrev.

The second case is from 2015, when a warehouse for finished products of VMZ-Sopot (a military complex enterprise)near the village of Iganovo was blown up. Some of the destroyed weaponry also owned by Emco.

In the third incident happened in 2015: a workshop of VMZ-Sopot in Iganovo was blown up. On May 31 of that year, a fire broke out in the building of the former Institute of Special Equipment in Sofia. The site is under investigation in other pre-trial proceedings. As a result of the fire, the material evidence seized in the case of the blasts in warehouses of VMZ-Sopot in Iganovo burned down.

According to the conclusion of the fire and technical expert inspection, the fire did not occur as a result of self-ignition.

The fourth case is from 2020 – a blast in a warehouse at the Arsenal defence plant in Maglizh. Siyka Mileva stressed that this is a strategic object for our national security.

“In all four accidents, there is a similarity, but they differ from other cases of warehouse explosions during the same period, according to the expert report. In all four cases, no specific causes of the warehouse explosions have been identified. There are no victims and no casualties,” explained Siyka Mileva. She added that prior to all the explosions fires had erupted at the relevant locations, giving people a chance to escape.

“It has been established that blasts were  caused by remote detonation device,” Mileva said.

In all four cases, the blasted weaponry was meant for export to Georgia or Ukraine.

  “According to the information received from the partner services and the National Security Agency (DANS), a reasonable assumption can be made about the link between these blasts, the attempts at poisoning three Bulgarian citizens and the crimes against other countries”, explained Mileva.

Three Russian citizens have been indicted in absentia for the attempted poisoning of the three Bulgarians.

They are on the ‘red list’ of Interpol and, according to Mileva, “probably are the agents of Russian military intelligence service GRU”.

In the course of the investigation of the blasts in ammunition warehouses, it was found that six Russians resided in Bulgaria around the dates of the explosions and the dates of the assassination attempts against businessman Emilian Gebrev.

According to the investigators, it is likely that the Russian nationals were aiming to intercept the supply of arms and munitions to Georgia and Ukraine.

A link between these cases with the blasts at ammunition depots in the Czech Republic in 2014 is also being investigated.