Czechs say Russian retaliation stronger than expected, ask EU partners for solidarity

The Czech Republic said on Monday Russia’s eviction of 20 Czech embassy employees in response to Prague’s expulsion of 18 Russian staff was a stronger than expected reaction and the government will consider further steps.

Apr 18, 2021: The Czech Republic has expelled 18 Russian diplomats who it says are military spies. The Russian embassy staffers are being kicked out after Czech officials said they found ‘clear evidence’ that Moscow operatives were involved in deadly explosions at a military ammunitions warehouse in the east of the Czech Republic that exploded in October 2014, killing two, and causing wide spread damage and hundreds to evacuate. Two months later, another similar explosion occurred.

Acting Czech Foreign Minister Jan Hamacek said he had asked fellow European Union foreign ministers for “an expression of solidarity” at a video conference on Monday.

“I expect that also on the basis of this…, we will learn about more expressions of support and it will be up to member states if they add some concrete decisions.”

The central European country ordered the Russian diplomats out on Saturday, saying it suspected Russian intelligence was involved in explosions at an ammunition depot in October and December 2014.

“The reaction (by Russia) is stronger than we had expected, it is more diplomats than the number of intelligence officers we expelled,” Hamacek told a televised news conference.

“I will meet the prime minister and discuss whether and when it will be needed to take some further steps from the Czech side.”

The Czech government has said it has reasonable suspicion that two Russian intelligence agents accused of a nerve agent poisoning in Britain in 2018 were behind the ammunition depot blasts four years before that killed two people.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry criticised Prague’s decision not to disclose all details of the investigation to Moscow, describing the affair as a blow to bilateral relations.

“This is proof that this whole story is a fabricated, dirty, disgusting fake,” RIA news agency cited Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying.

The row is the biggest between Prague and Moscow since the end of decades of Soviet domination of central and eastern European countries in 1989.

The Kremlin, commenting on the allegations that Russian intelligence was involved in the explosions and on the subsequent diplomatic expulsions, called the Czech Republic’s actions “provocative and unfriendly”.

The Czech Foreign Ministry said the Russian Embassy in Prague had 129 diplomats and other personnel, and two regional consulates – about twice the size of the Czech Embassy in Moscow, which the Russian countermeasure left severely hit.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-czech-russia-minister/czechs-say-russian-retaliation-stronger-than-expected-ask-eu-partners-for-solidarity-idUSKBN2C60TM

Published by amongthefray

News with a historical perspective. Fighting against misinformation, hate, and revisionist history.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: