The statement by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell on behalf of the European Union in support of the Czech Republic is a continuation of the EU’s unfriendly policy towards Moscow. This was announced on Thursday, April 22, by the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova.
“Instead of looking in detail at the reasons for the incident in the Czech Republic seven years ago, the EU, in fact, joins the unfounded accusations of the Czech authorities. This is yet another proof that the notorious European solidarity is placed above common sense and the desire to establish the truth. As in the case of what is happening in Ukraine, the EU is not able to objectively assess the situation, ”she said on the agency’s website.
She pointed out that “the language of ultimatums in modern diplomacy” is not permissible.
“The reckless support of the European Union for the openly politicized actions of Prague is very dangerous, since it fosters confidence in impunity, creates a false sense of permissiveness. We proceed from the fact that the European Union is giving an account of the consequences of such a policy. No one is allowed to speak from a position of strength, to use the language of ultimatums in modern diplomacy, ”Zakharova explained.
The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that Russia does not conduct any “subversive actions” in the world, including on the territory of the European Union. According to Zakharova, the Russian side has always acted and will continue to advocate the preservation of security and stability on the European continent.
“This can be achieved only through mutual respect, consideration of each other’s interests, equal and mutually beneficial cooperation,” she summed up.
On the eve of April 21, Borrell said that the European Union condemns Moscow’s allegedly disproportionate reaction to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the Czech Republic. In his statement, he indicated that Russia should abandon activities “that threaten security and stability in Europe and are contrary to its international obligations.” The diplomat also stressed that the European Union expresses full solidarity with the Czech Republic and supports the actions taken by its authorities, and also supports further efforts to bring those responsible to justice.
The next day, Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulganek announced that the country is demanding the departure of 63 employees of the Russian embassy in order to create parity between the diplomatic missions of both countries. He added that Prague does not intend to destroy relations with Moscow.
The Russian Foreign Ministry indicated that Moscow would give an answer to the Czech Republic in the event that Prague’s confrontational line continues. Thus, the Russian side conveyed to the ambassador of the Czech Republic, Vitezslav Pivonka, summoned to the Foreign Ministry, a demand to reduce the number of employees of the Czech diplomatic mission in Moscow and indicated the right to take further measures in the event of the continuation of Prague’s anti-Russian campaign.
Relations between the two countries became strained after the Prime Minister of the country, Andrei Babis, announced on April 17 that the Russian special services were allegedly 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.
Moscow, in response, 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. According to Kulganek, the expulsion of 20 diplomats from Russia “practically paralyzed” the work of the Czech embassy in Moscow.