The Czech Republic has decided to deport nearly 70 Russian diplomats and embassies. The country wants the Russian Embassy in Prague to have no more staff than the Czech Embassy in Moscow.
It‘s a new step in the diplomatic riot that started last week. At that time, Czech Prime Minister Babis announced that 18 Russian diplomats should leave the country because the government has proven that Russian intelligence officers were involved in an explosion in 2014 in a munitions depot in Vrbetice, killing two people. The eighteen would be members of the Military Intelligence Service Groe and the Foreign Intelligence Service SVR.
Moscow reacted furiously to the Czech decision, called on the ambassador and sent twenty diplomats from the Czech Embassy out of the country. The Czech Government said that the Russians had thereby paralysed their diplomatic post in Moscow and demanded that the decision be reversed. Now that this has not happened, the Czech Republic is coming up with this new reaction.
Czech Republic accused of Russophobia
“ I do not want to escalate”, says the Czech Foreign Minister Kulhanek in an explanatory statement. “That’s not my role. But the Czech Republic is a self-conscious country and will act accordingly.”
Also from Moscow come harsh words. “Prague is on its way to destroy our relations” and “they are stuck in unadulterated Russophobia”, says a spokesman for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
NATO Member of the Czech Republic had talks with allies today. According to Prague, they have “expressed their deep concerns about the disruptive actions that Russia continues to carry out” on the territory of NATO Member States.
Slovakia in solidarity with the Czech Republic
Neighbouring Slovakia has today given three Russian diplomats a week to leave the country. Prime Minister Heger said that Slovakia wants to show solidarity with the Czech Republic with the measure.
Sadly detail is that the Russians who hold the Czechs responsible for involvement in the explosion in 2014 have also been charged by British justice for attempting to poison former Russian double spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. That was in 2018 in Salisbury.