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Bulgaria to open skies for Russian Foreign Minister to participate in OSCE meeting

Bulgaria to open skies for Russian Foreign Minister to participate in OSCE meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (Getty Images)

Bulgaria will temporarily open its airspace for the aircraft of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, allowing him to participate in the OSCE meeting in Skopje, North Macedonia, scheduled on November 29 - December 1, according to the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"Bulgaria has granted permission for the flight of the special aviation unit 'Russia' through the airspace of the Republic of Bulgaria to carry out a flight for transporting the delegation to participate in the international forum," the statement said.

As clarified by the Bulgarian MFA, the diplomatic permit for the overflight is temporary and will be valid between 3 and 72 hours from the appointed date and time of the flight.

The statement further specifies that "this permit is granted for participation in the meeting of the OSCE Council of Ministers in Skopje to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, and falls under exceptions of the EU sanctions regime."

"This permit does not apply to members of his delegation, who are also sanctioned individuals according to the current EU legislation, as explicitly stated in the note in response from the Bulgarian side," notes the ministry.

Not the first time

Previously, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Montenegro closed their airspace to Lavrov's aircraft. At that time, his visit to Serbia was reported as unlikely. Later, Lavrov even canceled his planned visit to Belgrade on June 6, 2022.

Bulgaria closed its airspace for all Russian aircraft on February 26, 2022, two days after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.