Czech Republic has 18 Russian Embassy staff
Prague (AP) – The Czech Republic accuses Russia of being involved in the explosion of an ammunition depot in 2014.
In response, 18 Russian Embassy employees who are clearly identified as employees of the SWR and GRU secret services were dismissed from their posts, Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said. You must leave the country within 48 hours. Hamacek also heads the Foreign Ministry for the time being.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis spoke of clear evidence. “The Czech Republic is a sovereign state and must respond appropriately to these unprecedented revelations,” said the 66-year-old. In October and December 2014, several explosions took place at the Vrbetice ammunition depot in the eastern Czech Republic. Two people died and there was enormous material damage.
Moscow responded quickly. Prague is very aware of the following “such tricks,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Sakharov said, according to Interfax news agency. Vladimir Jabarov of the Federation Council said: “The response must be proportional. Other politicians in Moscow have expressed their incomprehension.
The Czech Police Special Unit for Combating Organized Crime released two photos. You agree with two suspects wanted in the UK in the nervous attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal.
The suspected GRU spies were reportedly in the Czech Republic for six days in mid-October 2014 and also visited the area where the ammunition depot is located. They allegedly used Russian passports bearing the names Alexander Petrow and Ruslan Boschirow.
The ammunition depot was used by commercial armaments companies. There were hundreds of anti-personnel mines there. After the blasts, thousands of soldiers spent two years defusing misfires and ammunition components and making the area safe again.
The Prague government’s announcement comes shortly after a heated dispute over Hamacek’s trip to Moscow, originally scheduled for Monday. The minister canceled the visit on Saturday after the opposition and the prime minister sharply criticized the project.
Hamacek wanted to negotiate in Russia over possible deliveries of the Sputnik V corona vaccine. The last time there was violent tension was in April 2020 after a statue of Soviet WWI general Ivan Konev was kidnapped in Prague.