Most of the employees of the Czech diplomatic mission in Moscow were citizens of the Russian Federation. This was announced on Thursday, April 22, by the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova, commenting on the situation with the mutual expulsion of diplomats between Moscow and Prague.
Zakharova also noted that Russia has never hired citizens of the country where the Russian embassy is accredited either as diplomats or as administrative and technical personnel.
“As for the Czech Republic, a significant, I would say, most of the employees of their diplomatic missions here in Russia were Russian citizens,” she explained on the First Channel.
In her opinion, Prague, in response to its unfriendly actions against Moscow, received something that “did not dream of even in a nightmare.”
Earlier on the same day, the Russian foreign ministry demanded to reduce the composition of the Czech diplomatic mission in Moscow after the decision of Prague to expel 63 more Russian diplomats. It was emphasized that Moscow reserves the right to take additional actions in the event of an increase in anti-Russian rhetoric from the Czech Republic.
On April 17, Czech Prime Minister Andrei Babis said 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, Moscow declared 20 employees of the Czech embassy in the Russian Federation persona non grata. The accusations in Russia were categorically denied, and the fact that Prague does not publish a report on the explosion, Zakharova called evidence of a lie. In the Czech Republic, this reaction from the Russian side was called stronger than expected.
On April 21, Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulganek demanded that the expelled Czech diplomats be returned to Russia and promised otherwise to send about 60 more Russian ones in order to create parity between the diplomatic missions of both countries.
In turn, Zakharova pointed out to Prague that an ultimatum tone towards Russia is inadmissible. According to her, with such actions against Russia, the Czech authorities are striking by themselves.