The North Atlantic Alliance supported the Czech authorities in the investigation of Russia’s actions and called for the punishment of those responsible. This was announced on April 18 by a NATO representative.
According to him, NATO supports an ally country, and Russia’s actions are malicious. “These actions are in line with the model of Russia’s dangerous behavior,” he stressed.
The alliance also expressed support to the relatives of those killed in the explosion at the arsenal in Vrbetica. “The perpetrators must be held accountable,” NATO concluded.
Earlier that day, Czech First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Jan Hamacek said that the country’s authorities know the identities of two men who are believed to be involved in the explosions at an ammunition depot in the village of Vrbetice. According to him, we are talking about two employees of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Russia. Hamachek also explained the details of the alleged special operation to export weapons to Bulgaria.
On October 16, 2014, 50 tons of ammunition exploded in Vrbetica. Their fragments were scattered within a radius of 800 m from the place where the warehouse building was located. Two employees of the local company Imex Group were killed.
On April 17, the Czech Republic announced that it was expelling 18 Russian diplomats; they were allegedly identified as employees of the Russian special services. However, no evidence of this was presented.
The Russian Foreign Ministry the next day expressed a strong protest to the Czech Republic and promised to take retaliatory steps. In turn, Dmitry Novikov, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, noted that there are no grounds for expelling diplomats from the Czech Republic. In his opinion, the expulsion of diplomats in the EU countries resembles a “race for loyalty to Washington.”