Bulgaria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thursday summoned the Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria, Eleonora Mitrofanova, to protest investigative journalist Christo Grozevon’s inclusion on the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs’ wanted list. Grozev is the Executive Director of Bellingcat, a Netherlands-based investigative journalism group which specializes in professional and citizen reporting on human rights abuses. It is a member of the Global Investigative Journalism Network.Grozev’s reporting on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and Russian double agent Sergei Skripal earned him multiple awards, including two Emmys. In July the FSB, Russia’s domestic intelligence service, accused Grozev of attempting to aid Ukrainian intelligence agencies in the hijacking of Russian military aircraft.Grozev has been charged under Article 207.3 of the Russian criminal code, which penalizes “spreading knowingly false information” about the Russian Armed Forces. Punishments range from fines to imprisonment of up to three years. According to Human Rights Watch, this provision criminalizes independent war reporting and anti-war protests.Bulgarian Prime Minister Galab Donev told reporters that his country had not been informed by Russia about the charges brought against Grozev. He termed the act to be “unacceptable” and an “attack on the freedom of speech.”Mitrofanova said that Bulgaria should ask the internal affairs ministry why Grozev was on the “wanted” list, adding that “we won’t chase him around the world, and this just means that one more time we are telling him he’s not wanted here.”Grozev said that he was grateful that most political parties and the Bulgarian government stood up for him.Bulgarian-Russian relations have faced a significant downturn since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Sofia expelled 70 Russian diplomats in June who were perceived to be “threats to national security.”

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