Arms Maker Calls for EU to Tackle Bulgarian ‘Novitchok’ Case alongside Navalny Poisoning
The investigation of the 2015 Skripal-like poisoning of arms makes Emiliyan Gebrev and two other men has been terminated by the Bulgarian authorities.
Emiliyan Gebrev, a major Bulgarian arms producer who is believed to have been targeted with a Russian-made nerve agent back in 2015 in a case similar to the Skripal case in the UK, has urged the Bulgarian government to get the rest of the EU and NATO to consider his poisoning alongside the recent poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Navalny, the best known leader of the non-parliamentary opposition in Russia and a prominent anti-corruption activist, is presently being treated in Berlin, Germany, after he was poisoned during a visit to Siberia in August.
Navalny’s allies insist that he was poisoned with the Kremlin’s support possibly by Russian intelligence agents, because of his adamant opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin, an accusation rejected by Russian officials.
Navalny’s poisoning has already been likened to the poisoning of former Russian military officer Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, the UK, in 2018, with the Novichok nerve agent, a Soviet-era chemical weapon, allegedly by two agents of the Russian intelligence service GRU. Russia’s government has vehemently denied the accusations in question.
In a case that has been linked to the Skripal case and now to the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, back in 2015, Bulgarian arms producer Emiliyan Gebrev, owner of ammunition maker “Emko”, his son Hristo Gebrev, and manufacturing plant manager Valentin Tahchiev, were poisoned in a Sofia restaurant, barely surviving what they see as a clear-cut attempt on their lives connected with their business.
Arms maker Emko has been a major exporter of ammunition, with international clients such as India’s armed forces.
In an open letter released on Tuesday, September 8, Gebrev has urged the Bulgarian government to bring the Gebrev poisoning case to the attention of the European Union and NATO member states on par with the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, including during the upcoming meeting of the European Council, the state leaders of the EU.
Gebrev, his son, and his subordinate insist that the Bulgarian government join the efforts of the Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, whose governments are insisting that the alleged attempt on Navalny’s life be included in the agenda of the European Council meeting on September 24-25, 2020.
“The Bulgarian authorities must disprove the impression which has emerged over the recent years that they are serving foreign interests contradicting not just the interests of our nation but also the interests of our allies,” the Gebrevs and Tahchiev argue in their open letter sent to the Bulgarian institutions, the media, and the ambassadors of all EU and NATO member states in Sofia.
“Bulgaria must offer now and immediately active cooperation for exposing the whole truth over the ‘Bulgarian Novichok’ [attack] in 2015, the attack in the UK in 2018, and now the Navalny Case,” the open letter says.
Gebrev has recently spoken out in indignation over the decision of the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office to terminate the investigation into his poisoning in 2015, possibly as part of an attempt to take over his business, and against the backdrop of doubts and speculations of Russian involvement.
The three Bulgarian men who were poisoned in 2015 demand that the Bulgarian government ask for assistance the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, that it reveal whether any further evidence exist in the case, that it cooperate actively with the UK and Germany in the investigation in the Skripal, Gebrev, and Navalny cases, and that it demand from Russia information about the suspects over information that they might be Russian intelligence officers.
“The Bulgarian authorities must permit the investigation of the potential Bulgarian accomplices as well as the instigators and those who ordered the terrorist attack against us,” the Gebrevs and Tahchiev insist.
(Banner image: TV grab from BNT)