MOSCOW, September 13 – RAPSI. Bulgaria is prepared to defend its position in court against Russia’s Atomstroyexport; to this end, the Bulgarian authorities have hired the best law firm they could find, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov told BNT, Bulgaria’s local channel.

The prime minister has no doubts that Bulgaria will prevail in the lawsuit since Russia’s claims are groundless, in his opinion.

Borissov said he is determined to discuss the issues connected with Atomstroyexport’s lawsuit against Bulgaria's National Electric Company (NEK) with the Russian leadership this November. The prime minister also expressed hope that the trial would not affect the long-term friendship between Russia and Bulgaria.

Atomstroyexport previously stated that it had increased its claims to 1 billion Euros against Bulgaria's National Electric Company (NEK) regarding the Belene Nuclear Power Plant project as part of the case considered by the International Chamber of Commerce's (ICC) International Court of Arbitration.

Atomstroyexport is a leading Russian engineering company and is a subsidiary of the Rosatom state corporation. It is involved in the construction of nuclear power facilities abroad.

Atomstroyexport is currently building five nuclear power generating units abroad, including Bulgaria.

"The increase in the claim was the result of the fact that the project was prematurely terminated by the Bulgarian government, the terms of the agreement dated November 29, 2006 have expired, and NEK continues to refuse to compensate Atomstroyexport for its expenses and losses," the company said.

A tender for the plant's construction was announced in 2005. Atomstroyexport won the tender, and an agreement on constructing the plant was signed on November 29, 2006. In 2007 the Russian design was found to comply with all the European technical requirements. On January 18, 2009 an agreement on the plant's construction was signed. On March 28, 2012 the Bulgarian government announced that it was cancelling the project.

Atomstroyexport filed a lawsuit with the ICC International Court of Arbitration in Paris in July. The Russian company sought to recover 58 million Euros to construct the plant in Bulgaria. This was the first dispute between the parties.

An Atomstroyexport representative told RIA Novosti that the company seeks compensation for the activities that have so far been implemented. It obtained credit to fulfill the construction at Bulgaria's request, he said. Ultimately, the Bulgarian company announced that it would file a counterclaim against Atomstroyexport, without specifying its claims.

In early October, NEK filed a 61 million Euro counterclaim against Atomstroyexport with the Arbitration Court of Geneva.

"Atomstroyexport owes NEK 61 million Euros under a November 28, 2007 contract," the company said.