In the primary six months of 2021, the Czech Republic spent $683 million on Russian protection merchandise, a determine that exceeds imports from the final three years mixed. Prague is now the largest purchaser from Russia’s navy business.
That’s in keeping with Moscow every day Vedomosti, which analyzed the newest customs statistics.
The appreciable development in protection business imports is available in the identical yr that the Czech Republic was positioned by Moscow on its record of ‘unfriendly countries,’ alongside the US, after Prague expelled numerous Russian diplomats. In April this yr, Czech authorities accused Russian safety forces of being behind explosions at ammunitions depots in Vrbetice in 2014 – a cost Moscow has firmly denied.
The deteriorating relations don’t appear to have affected the worldwide weapons commerce, nevertheless. According to Vedomosti, the expansion of provides to Prague will not be solely as a result of the native authorities need Russian merchandise, however many different international locations do too.
The Czech Republic is used as a transport base for reselling Russian navy gear to different international locations that don’t need to cooperate with Moscow instantly, the paper says. Algeria ($603 million) and China ($488 million) ranked second and third amongst importers, bringing the general whole of Russia protection exports – together with planes, weapons, and ammo – to $4.7 billion for the reason that starting of the yr.
Last month, Czech Ambassador to Moscow Vitezslav Pivonka was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry over calls for from Prague that Russia pay €25.5 million ($30 million) in compensation over Vrbetice.
“Usually, those who act in this way – without a trial, and demand money with threats and insults – are called extortionists,” Maria Zakharova, the ministry’s spokeswoman, mentioned.
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