July 15. 2024. 7:01

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Ukrainians arrested for ‘spying’ on Bulgaria’s largest coal-fired power plant

A 23-year-old man with a Ukrainian passport was arrested in Bulgaria for suspicion of spying on the country’s largest state-owned coal-fired power plant, Maritsa East 2.

Deputy Prosecutor Hristo Krastev, spokesman for Sofia Prosecutor’s Office, said prosecutors opened a case against a Ukrainian man on Wednesday, accusing him of espionage.

Maritsa East 2 is a strategic facility of the Bulgarian National Security System and ensures the balance of the electricity system in Bulgaria and, in case of acute shortage, in the Balkans.

The Ukrainian man was arrested on the premises of the TPP plant with drones, mobile phones, cameras, numerous SIM cards and memory cards.

“He is accused of collecting information that is a state secret to provide it to a foreign country,” said Krastev, but the Bulgarian authorities have not yet announced for which country the espionage was carried out.

Forensic tests are now being carried out to determine what, if anything, he was filming and whether the equipment found on him contained state secrets.

The aim of the investigation is to establish whether he is a Ukrainian citizen or whether this is Russian espionage. Bulgaria has asked partner intelligence services in EU and NATO countries for information on whether the arrested man was involved in espionage on their territory.

“The man has testified. He told us when he came to Bulgaria, where he came from, what he did, who he met. These details are now being verified,” said the prosecution, without giving further details.

Inspections at the thermal power station, which covers a large area, are continuing. The security guards who arrested the man have been questioned, and exactly how he broke into the plant is being investigated.

Prosecutor Krastev added that, so far, there is no information that the accused has been helped by people inside the Maritsa East 2 TPP.

Bulgarian prosecutors are currently investigating at least four explosions at Bulgarian arms plants carried out by Russian intelligence over the past decade. Bulgaria is one of the largest exporters of arms to Ukraine, and its electricity system is key to the energy balance of neighbouring countries.

(Krassen Nikolov | Euractiv.bg)

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