The official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Maria Zakharova, on Wednesday, April 21, warned the Czech Republic that an ultimatum tone when dealing with Russia is unacceptable.
She advised Prague to leave ultimatums for NATO.
“Judging by the statements of some Czech politicians, they are trying to make Kafka a reality. We offer Prague to leave ultimatums for communication within NATO. With Russia, such a tone is unacceptable, ”she told reporters, commenting on the ultimatum of the Czech Foreign Ministry.
The diplomat also warned that on April 22, Czech Ambassador Vitezslav Pivonka would be summoned to the Foreign Ministry.
“Tomorrow the conversation with the Czech ambassador will be continued at the Russian Foreign Ministry,” Zakharova added.
Earlier on Wednesday, Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulganek, in a conversation with Russian Ambassador Alexander Zmeevsky, protested the expulsion of 20 Czech diplomats from Moscow. He demanded the return of all 20 expelled diplomats by 12:00 Thursday. Otherwise, the number of the Russian embassy will be reduced to the number of Czech diplomats in Moscow, the minister added.
In response to such an ultimatum from Prague, the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov emphasized that Moscow does not accept the stylistics of demands from other countries towards itself.
He also pointed to the words of Russian leader Vladimir Putin in his message to the Federal Assembly earlier in the day. In his speech, the head of state noted Russia’s desire to have good relations with all participants in the international process, but for those who perceive this as weakness and provoke Moscow, a tough response will follow, the Russian president promised.
Relations between Russia and the Czech Republic have become strained after the Prime Minister of the country Andrei Babis announced on April 17 that the Russian special services were suspected of being involved in an explosion at an ammunition depot in Vrbetica in 2014. On the same day, the Czech Republic decided to expel 18 Russian diplomats.
On April 18, Moscow, in response, declared 20 employees of the Czech embassy in the Russian Federation persona non grata. On the same day, Pivonka was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry. He was told about the retaliatory measures of the Russian Federation.
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.