The European Union on Monday, April 19, issued a statement in which it called the Czech Republic’s suspicions of Russia’s alleged involvement in the explosion of ammunition in the city of Vrbetica in 2014 as “reasonable”. This was reported on the website of the EU foreign policy service.
“The European Union is deeply concerned about the repetition of a negative model of dangerous malicious behavior on the part of Russia in Europe. Russia must stop this activity, which violates established international principles and norms and threatens stability in Europe, ”the statement says.
In addition, the EU expressed regret about the Russian decision to expel 20 Czech diplomats, and also declared full support for the Czech Republic.
On April 19, Czech Prime Minister Andrei Babis said that the incident with the explosion at the ammunition depot in Vrbetica was aimed at the goods of a Bulgarian businessman. Prague cannot publish a full account of the incident.
According to him, this was not a Russian attack on the Czech Republic. The head of the Czech government also noted that on Tuesday he would discuss with the interim Foreign Minister Jan Hamacek the further actions of Prague in relation to Russia, which the Czech authorities consider to be involved in the incident. However, Prague does not provide any evidence.
The Czech Republic announced on April 17 its decision to expel 18 Russian diplomats. It was reported that the diplomats were “identified by the country’s special services as officers of the GRU and SVR.”
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. Hamacek reported 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.