Acting Czech Foreign Minister said the order to expel 20 diplomats issued by Russia was more tough than expected and called for solidarity from the EU.
“The Russian response is stronger than we expected, as more diplomats are being asked to leave Russia than our intelligence officers are deported. I will meet with the Prime Minister and discuss additional measures. if necessary, “Acting Czech Foreign Minister Jan Hamacek said today.
The Czech official also called on foreign ministers of European Union (EU) member states to show solidarity. “We will learn more supportive actions and each EU member country will decide for themselves whether to make tough decisions or not,” Acting Foreign Minister Hamacek said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry yesterday million Czech ambassadors Vitezslav Pivonka to announce the decision to expel 20 embassy staff and ask them to leave Russia by April 20, in response to the decision to deport 18 Russian diplomats in Czech was launched by Prague earlier, related to the ammunition explosion in 2017.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova criticized the Czech government for not sharing information about the investigation of the blast. “This is proof that the whole story is fake, dirty and fake,” the Russian official said.
The Kremlin also issued a statement saying the deportation of 18 Russian diplomats was “aggressive and unwilling”.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis on April 17 spoke live on television about “there is a reasonable suspicion that officers from the Russian military intelligence agency GRU were involved in the explosion of the ammunition warehouse in the Vrbetice region”. The explosion rocked a ammunition warehouse 330 kilometers southeast of Prague in October 2014, killing two people. Babis called the situation “unprecedented and infamous”.
Acting Foreign Minister Hamacek then announced that 18 Russian embassy staff had been requested to leave within 72 hours. The deportation order and accusation have been the biggest conflict between the Czech Republic and Russia since 1989 to date.
The US Embassy in Prague announced on Twitter that Washington “always stands side by side with its allies first and foremost. We appreciate this move by the Czech Republic, forcing Russia to pay the price for the danger in the Czech territory”.
Vu Anh (According to the Reuters)