The warehouse in Vrbetica, where the explosion took place in 2014, was free of prohibited weapons. This was stated on April 26 in a statement by the Czech Ministry of Defense on Twitter.
“There is speculation that prohibited weapons were stored in Vrbetica. This is not true, which was confirmed by the court. The Czech Republic adheres to international agreements, ”the ministry said.
Earlier that day, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that they expect the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Ukraine to clarify the storage of anti-personnel mines in Vrbetica, bypassing the convention on the prohibition of this type of weapon.
The Russian Foreign Ministry drew attention to the material of the German newspaper Die Welt on April 17, which was circulated by the international media, stating that there were “hundreds of antipersonnel mines” in warehouses in the Czech Vrbetica.
This information, the department said, casts doubt on the good faith fulfillment of the Czech Republic’s obligations under the Convention on the Banning of Anti-Personnel Mines.
Also on Monday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the statements of the Czech authorities about the explosions at the ammunition depot in Vrbetica are confusing and not very sane.
On the eve, Czech President Milos Zeman did not rule out the possibility that the situation around the story with the explosions in the warehouses in Vrbetica could be a game of the special services. He pointed out that in the intelligence report there was no evidence of the involvement of “Russian agents” in this incident and urged to wait for the results of the investigation of the incident before drawing conclusions. According to the Czech leader, two main reasons for the explosion are being considered: careless handling of ammunition and interference by foreign special services.
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.
In response, Russia declared 20 employees of the Czech embassy in Moscow persona non grata. As a result, by May 31, as a result of the mutual expulsions of diplomats, seven diplomats, 25 technical staff and 19 locally hired people will remain in the embassies of the Czech Republic and the Russian Federation.