Russia tells 20 Czech diplomats to depart by Monday evening in response to Prague’s expulsions


Twenty Czech diplomats have been declared personae non-gratae and should now depart Russia earlier than the tip of April 19, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated on Sunday, a day after Czech officers expelled 18 diplomats to Moscow.

Earlier on Sunday, the Czech ambassador to Moscow, Vítezslav Pivonka, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, which expressed a “strong protest” over Prague’s actions this weekend. Citing allegations of the involvement of the Russian intelligence in a 2014 blast at a navy depot within the Czech Republic, which was initially considered an accident, the Czech authorities ordered 18 Russian diplomats overseas. The determination was introduced on Saturday by Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Foreign Minister Jan Hamacek.

The envoy was additionally knowledgeable that 20 workers members of the Czech embassy in Moscow must depart Russia by the tip of Monday, April 19. Reports within the media on Saturday cited diplomatic sources as having stated {that a} proportionate retaliation from Moscow would successfully shut down the embassy, however it was not instantly clear how severely the work of the diplomatic mission has really been affected.

Also on Czechs announce expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats, as Prague claims ‘intel officers’ concerned in 2014 munitions depot explosion

Notably, the diplomatic scandal rocked Czech-Russian relations on the eve of FM Hamacek’s scheduled go to to Moscow, the place he was to have mentioned the doable buy of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. 

The breakdown in relations has additionally disrupted Russian-Czech cooperation within the area of nuclear vitality. On Sunday, Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlicek stated Russia’s state-owned nuclear vitality company, Rosatom, would possible be barred from tendering for renovating the Czech Republic’s Dukovany nuclear energy plant.

Also on Saturday, Czech police stated they had been searching for two Russian residents who had been within the space of the navy depot on the time of the blast, apparently implying their involvement with out immediately saying so. The information was met with a lot ridicule in Russia, because the suspects are the identical males who had been accused by London of the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in 2018 – an allegation denied by Moscow. Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov have beforehand denied any hyperlinks to Russian intelligence, claiming they had been businessmen and complaining that Britain’s unsubstantiated accusations had ruined their lives.

Also on ‘Did they shake Biden’s stairs too?’ Russians say LMAO after Salisbury poisoning suspects linked to explosion at Czech ammo depot

The US and different NATO allies had been fast to assist Prague in its determination to kick Russian diplomats out.

“The US stands with the Czech Republic in its firm response against Russia’s subversive actions on Czech soil,” the US State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated in a Twitter publish. The UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab stated London stands “in full support of our Czech allies,” alleging they “exposed the lengths” that Russian intelligence is keen to go in its “dangerous and malign operations in Europe.”

Officials in Moscow have referred to as the allegations “absurd.” In an announcement on Sunday, the Foreign Ministry has accused Prague of doing Washington’s bidding.

“An American trace” within the Czech determination to expel the Russian was arduous to disregard, the ministry stated, pointing to the truth that it was introduced shortly after the US requested ten Russian embassy workers to depart the nation. However, of their try to “please” Washington “the Czech authorities even managed to outdo their masters on the other side of the Atlantic,” it added.

Think your mates would have an interest? Share this story!