Russian interests and diversion by GRU agents – this is how prosecutors explained last week four explosions of ammunition in military production depots from 2011, 2015 and 2020. The unexpected prosecutorial activity came after the Czech Republic declared a link between explosions in its warehouses and the attempted poisoning of the arms dealer Emilian Gebrev, and the investigative portal
confirmed the presence of Russian agents on Czech and Bulgarian territory during these events. However, there is another explosion – that of Petolachkata from 2012. The official version is about an industrial incident, but there are serious evidence of diversion, which the prosecutor’s office refuses to investigate. Key information is that this explosion destroyed a large batch of weapons for Georgia by a company on good terms with the authorities.
From explosions in the Czech Republic to Novichok in Bulgaria
In the course of the most serious spy scandal since the end of the Cold War, the Czech Republic expelled 18 Russian diplomats and forced Russia to recall 70 more employees of its embassy in Prague. In a show of support, Slovakia declared three other Russian diplomats persona non grata. The sharp diplomatic reaction was a consequence of claims by Czech security services that the explosion of ammunition in a private warehouse near Vrbetice in 2014 was the result of interference by Russian intelligence services.
According to Prague, the explosion was not planned to take place on Czech territory, but was to be carried out on Bulgarian territory. Deutsche Welle reports that Russian intelligence officers Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga were involved in the blast.. During their stay in the Czech Republic from 11 to 16 October 2014, they presented themselves with Russian passports in the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. They also used passports in the name of Moldovan citizen Nikolay Pop and Tajikistan citizen Ruslan Tabarov. According to Czech media, the attack on the warehouse was carried out to prevent a deal involving Bulgarian arms dealer Emilian Gebrev. The industrialist was poisoned in 2015, probably with Novichok, but survived.
The weekly Respect said the ammunition stored in the warehouse was likely destined for shipments to Ukraine, while another newspaper cited rebels in Syria as the final recipient. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said the ammunition had already been paid for at the time of the explosion. On April 27, the Bulgarian company EMKO of Emilian Gebrev released documents according to which their goods were not destroyed in the incident in the Czech Republic in 2014.. The company has denied any plans to export to Ukraine at the time. “So far, the only irrefutable fact linking the terrorist acts in the Czech Republic in 2014, in Bulgaria in 2015 and in the UK in 2018 is the participation of the same agents of the Russian special services, GRU Unit 29155.”
These revelations focused attention on the work of the Bulgarian investigative bodies. Their silence on the subject became intolerable after the investigative site Bellingcat confirmed the Czech state’s data. In the end, Prosecutor General Geshev personally announced that there had been ammunition explosions in Bulgaria as a result of hostile actions of the GRU. And four for the last ten years and all of them connected in some way with Gebrev’s EMCO.
The prosecutor’s office pointed to several recurring elements in the incidents, which it suspects were the result of GRU diversion. The explosions “happen” in warehouses storing ammunition that are intended for export to countries hostile to Putin’s regime. Such are Ukraine, Georgia or Bashar al-Assad’s opponents in Syria. Most often, the explosions were preceded by a fire that forced the majority of employees to leave the epicenter of the future explosion to avoid casualties – what humanity on the part of the GRU. And also in all cases a commodity or infrastructure of the company EMKO of the arms dealer Emilian Gebrev was affected.
However, there is another very typical condition, which Geshev kept silent. And it is that the prosecution refused to investigate potential diversion after these “incidents”. Even if data on such data is collected, as is the case with the warehouses in Lovnidol, the investigation does not continue in the direction of terrorism or diversion, but is terminated. And so until international pressure forced Bulgarian investigators to admit the obvious.
EMCO refuted the prosecution’s findings, pointing out that two of the incidents mentioned by the state prosecution had nothing to do with their activities. The company defines as disinformation the claim of the prosecutor’s office that its production has something to do with the explosions in VMZ Sopot. The explosion in the warehouses in Lovnidol in 2011 was not preceded by a fire, as information was officially circulated. Although in the pre-trial proceedings there was evidence of a detonated explosive device, which probably caused the explosions of shells in the company’s warehouse near Gabrovo, the investigation was terminated.
The fact is that Emilian Gebrev has been in the crosshairs not only of GRU agents for years, but also of influential domestic factors. Appetites for his business, and in particular for the Dunarit weapons plant, were shown by none other than MP Delyan Peevski himself through the related company Viafot. He received full support from the state machine for a raider attack on EMCO, which has not yet been completed. The attempts to poison Gebrev were completely ignored by the state prosecution. Former Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov even declared them food poisoning with arugula. As GRU agents roam the Czech Republic and Bulgaria on sabotage assignments, Tsatsarov and his future successor Geshev exchange visits with Russian Prosecutor General Chaika, with whom they show excellent relations.
The invisible weapons for Georgia from Petolachkata
The enlightenment of the Prosecutor’s Office that the GRU tracks and blows up military production for countries hostile to Russia requires a new reading of all incidents with explosions in Bulgarian warehouses, which are reported to have stored weapons for Georgia, Ukraine or Syria. Such is the case with the explosion near the Petolachkata road junction on June 5, 2012, when explosions of the ammunition depots at the Straldzha-Marash base began under strange circumstances. Witnesses told the media that a series of secondary detonations followed the first blast. Some of the workers evacuated independently, leaving the base on foot, others were transported by car to the hospital. Three of the employees died.
The official version of the investigators is that on the day of the incident it was these three poor people who dismantled a warhead from a Dvina anti-aircraft missile. The explosion started from workshop 1, where they are believed to have died on the spot. The rest of their colleagues survived because they were out of the workshop. Eight months after the explosions, the Prosecutor’s Office indicted the owner of the company “Beretta Trading” Delislav Delev and the head of the proceedings at the Straldzha-Marash base Ivan Peev. Nine years after the incident, the case is still in the first instance.
However, the state prosecution ignored some significant details in this case. Indeed, the base is owned by Desislav Delev, through his company “Beretta Trading”. However, it uses only 2 of the seven “Dutch” halls (some single, some double). There is storage and disposal of ammunition under contract with the Defense Ministry. But most of the warehouses are rented by another company – “Sage Consultants“, and she keeps in them weapons for Georgia. The BRRD has obtained the documentation that proves this in an indisputable way.
We are talking about significant amounts of weapons and ammunition – from Kalashnikovs to howitzers worth tens of millions of dollars (prices, which are a trade secret, have been erased). The documents we have show that in 2011 – 2012 “Sage” stored the goods in the halls of Petolachkata, and from there transported them to Georgia through the port of Burgas.
Needless to say, after the 2008 blitz war, Georgia became the main target of Russian special services. Sage’s munitions from the Petolachka were supposed to fill the deficit of the Georgian army after an explosion at a warehouse of military equipment on the territory of the former Soviet republic. But an “incident” partially destroys this production purchased in Bulgaria.
According to the Commercial Register , “Sage Consultants” is owned by Hristo Yordanov Hristov, and the manager is Gencho Valkov Hristov, also known as agent “Petrov” of the State Security. Both are landmark names in the dual-use market. Transmedia Studios first reported in 2019 that arms dealer Hristo Yordanov Hristov was the likely buyer of a luxury mansion worth more than $34 million in Los Angeles.. This is not his first luxury purchase.. From the lawsuits that the company leads against rulings of the Bulgarian tax authorities, it is clear that it is among the suppliers of the US Army and executes orders awarded directly by the US Department of the Army. The rise of the company began in the time of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Transmedia Studios claims that during the NMSS and the Triple Coalition the company worked extremely well with the Ministry of Defense. The company manages to buy at attractive prices from “Supply and trade” Ltd. old Russian tanks T-55 and other weapons and export them to Eritrea.
Without a doubt, in the destroyed warehouses of “Beretta Trading” there is a production that is owned by “Sage Consultants”. WithAfter the indictment against Delev, Hristo Hristov’s company has filed a commercial lawsuit against Beretta Trading with a claim for BGN 30 million. That’s how much damage the blast that Sage Consultants believes it has suffered has been assessed. The defendant showed, however, that the amount of damage sustained by the plaintiff was covered for a large part by the insurance policy.
Fire, strong protective shafts and unrecognized Nokia
As mentioned, the state prosecution cited as the reason for the explosion the cutting of a warhead of a Dvina anti-aircraft missile by the three dead workers. They cannot speak, but the testimony of other eyewitnesses does not correspond at all to this thesis. In their interviews with investigators, witnesses said the accident began not with a detonation, but with a fire.
Witness Anatoly Todorov says that the fire broke out in Workshop 1. The flames rose above the roof of the sheet metal structure. Initially, the shift supervisor and the other workers tried to organize the fire fighting, but unsuccessfully :
“At that moment I saw part of the roof of workshop No. 1 break and from there came a very bright yellow-red flame. There was no smoke around him at that moment. I didn’t hear an explosion-like sound. Since I was under the impression that something had caught fire and not exploded, I told my group to go to a place to help… with the car we went back to storage 5B (the witness works there). We got out of the car and climbed the stairs when a big bang was heard. Repository No5 B is about 50 to 70 meters from workshop No. 1. The air wave the three of us lifted us into the air and hurled us 5-10 meters from the staircase. I started looking for my two mobile phones and at that moment I heard another explosion, I found my personal phone and called Mr. Peev to tell him that we were thundering, calling ambulances and fire departments. Then another thunder was heard, I no longer know whether from workshop No. 1 or one of the warehouses, and I hid behind a tree. In my estimation, I stood behind the tree for about an hour, an hour and a half. Then I headed down the ravine to checkpoint-1.”
The testimony of another witness sounds similar:
“From the roof of workshop 1 begins to come out a very bright, bright, yellow flame. I said to my colleagues, “Something happened, it was on fire, let’s go put out.” We went to workshop 1. With two of our colleagues Georgi Dimitrov and Ivelin Vasilev we went on “Citroencheto”, the official one, which was up to No. 5B and I went backwards. I walked about 20 meters and told them that these firefighting equipment located in workshop 1, seeing what the flame was, would probably not be enough for us, so I offered to go back to No. 5B, where we work to load the pumps that were there. Getting to the ramp, we got off the “Citroenche” and began to climb the steps. At that moment it was already the big bang, where the wave threw us away, and from there on we began to save ourselves. My colleague Ivelin said to call Mr. Peev about what happened. I went back to storage No5B, found a phone, as everything was smoky. I saw that repository No5B was without sheet metal. From the blast wave that threw away the sheet metal of No. 5B, everything was thrown away. Only the ammunition chests and stakes where the sheet metal is clamped sit.”
It is clear from the testimony of the witnesses that the fire burns a minute or two before the detonations begin, just like in the prosecution’s scenario for the four sabotage explosions. The BRRD also has the conclusion of the fivefold forensic expertise, which also confirms that not in each of the destroyed “Dutch” halls there were detonations. The explosions were found in Workshop No. 1 and warehouse No. 18, where the munitions are intended for disposal. In warehouses with numbers No5A and No5B, according to experts, there are no detonations, but “explosive combustion”. This is also evidenced by the shafts around the warehouses, which are intact. Shafts are earth embankments that protect the halls from spreading fire coming from a neighboring warehouse and from a possible blast wave. In the warehouses under numbers 4, 8 and 9 there was also explosive combustion with separate detonations, probably of shells. There the shafts also held back.
The fact is that right in the places where Sage Consultants’ goods are stored for Georgia, a fire breaks out. And no one can explain how the fire reached all the warehouses by passing through the protective shafts without even burning the grass on them. In the hypothesis of an industrial accident rather than a diversion, the expertise does not explain this phenomenon. The remoteness of the individual warehouses reinforces the suspicion that separate action has been taken to destroy each of them, such as ignition. There is no other logical explanation to provide an answer for healthy shafts.
The interrogations also mentioned a Nokia phone that no one recognizes as their own. However, investigators do not bother to investigate another hypothesis, such as diversion, and so far maintain that this is an industrial accident and criminal negligence.
There are also reports of other incidents classified as sabotage that are not included in the GRU’s prosecutorial list of sabotage. As EMCO emphasized in its statement: “In particular, there are no answers to the questions about the explosions in the Sopot VMZ on March 21 and April 15, 2015, which at that time were qualified by the official Bulgarian authorities as “sabotage”. If we add to them the explosion of the Five-pointed Star, the cases of suspected diversion become seven, but only four are officially recognized as such.
Author Dimitar Stoyanov, editor Atanas Tchobanov
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Но на чекмеджето му мина времето. Даже прокуратурата затвори онова Чекмедже, знаете кое…
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Менко Менков, адвокатът на Бойко Борисов, съди в Софийски градски съд Атанас Чобанов и Димитър Стоянов за статията "Досиетата Пандора: Адвокатът на Борисов и министрите му контролира сейшелска офшорка". Претенцията на Менко Менков е за 100 000 лв. за непозволено увреждане. Номерът на делото е 1761/2022 в СГС. Съдия по делото е Весела Офицерска.
Депутатът от ГЕРБ Лъчезар Иванов съди в Софийски градски съд Димитър Стоянов и Ангел Алексиев за статията Помощ или подкуп? Какво се крие зад акциите на Лъчезар Иванов, разследвани от прокуратурата? Претенцията на Лъчезар Иванов е за 10 000 лв. за непозволено увреждане. Номерът на делото е 3857/2021 в СГС. Съдия по делото е Гергана Кирова.
Ванина Колева, съдия от Административен съд София - Град е образувала наказателно дело за клевета срещу целия екип на BIRD, заради статията ни "Всички пътища на „Eвpoлaб 2011“ водят към съдия Ванина Колева". Делото се гледа в Перник, тъй като софийските съдии си направиха отвод.
Размиг Чакърян - Ами е завел общо пет дела - три срещу Атанас Чобанов и две срещу Димитър Стоянов, заради статиите ни за "Златния паркинг", "Златната локва" и "Златната лаборатория" на Капитан Андреево. Всяко от делата е с претенция за 10,000 лв. Съдиите по делата от Районен съд - София са Красен Вълев 2379/2023, Светлозар Димитров 9982/2023, Иванина Пастракова 9981/2023, Лилия Митева 2381/2023 и Деница Урумова 9980/2023.
Братът на зам.-председателя на парламента Росица Кирова е завел дело срещу Атанас Чобанов и Димитър Николов с материална претенция 26,000 лв. за статията ни "Таки и братът на зам.-председател на Парламента са разследвани за тероризъм". Гражданското дело с номер 606/2023 е образувано пред Софийски градски съд, а съдия е Екатерина Стоева.
This post is also available in: Български (Bulgarian)