The Czech Republic calls on its allies in the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) and the European Union to also expel Russian diplomats. On Tuesday, April 20, the agency reports. AFP…
According to the newspaper, Prague asks to take such a step as a sign of solidarity.
Earlier that day, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, called the situation with the investigation of the explosions in the Czech Republic “insanity.”
In turn, the press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov said that the measures taken by the Czech Republic against Russian diplomats and statements about Russia’s involvement in the explosion of ammunition in 2014 are baseless and destructive for bilateral relations.
On April 17, Czech Prime Minister Andrei Babis announced that the country’s authorities suspect the Russian special services of involvement in the explosion at an ammunition depot in Vrbetica in 2014.
On the same day, the Czech Republic announced its decision to expel 18 Russian diplomats. It was reported that they were “identified by the country’s special services as officers of the GRU and SVR.”
The European Union has supported the accusations of the Czech Republic, calling it “reasonable” suspicions of Russia’s alleged involvement in the explosion of ammunition.
The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed a strong protest to the Czech Republic and promised to take reciprocal steps. The next day, Moscow declared 20 employees of the Czech embassy in the Russian Federation persona non grata.
In the Czech Republic, the reaction of the Russian side was called stronger than expected. First Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamacek said on April 19 that the work of the embassy in Moscow was paralyzed after the expulsion of 20 diplomats. He also called the current situation a big blow to the embassy.