The decision of the Czech Republic to reduce the composition of the Russian embassy to the level of a diplomatic mission in Moscow will not go unanswered, Aleksey Chepa, deputy chairman of the State Duma’s international affairs committee, told Izvestia on Thursday, April 22.
Earlier that day, Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulganek announced that the composition of the Russian Embassy in Prague would be reduced to the level of the republic’s diplomatic mission in Moscow.
“There is a practice of a mirror response to such actions – this is a worldwide practice. The inexplicable expulsion of Russian diplomats meant retaliatory steps. And when the Czech colleagues did this, they understood that such actions would take place. Today’s expulsion will also lead to certain actions, ”said Aleksey Chepa.
If the expulsion of diplomats between the two countries continues, then Russian tourists to the Czech Republic will decrease, which will be a definite blow to the economy and tourism business of the Czech Republic.
In addition, in the event of an escalation of a diplomatic scandal, the parliamentarian did not rule out an attempt by the Czech authorities to encroach on the lands of the Russian embassy.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova emphasized the inadmissibility of an ultimatum tone towards the Russian Federation. The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also stated that Moscow will give an answer to the Czech Republic if the confrontational line of Prague continues.
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.