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News > Russia

Russia: 20 Czech-Embassy Staff Expelled in Retaliation

  • Maria Zakharova, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson

    Maria Zakharova, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson | Photo: Twitter/Rusian MFA

Published 18 April 2021

Moscow took no time in responding "in kind", as it had warned, to the Czech decision to expel 18 diplomats from the Russian mission in Prague. Twenty Czeck-embassy staffers must leave Russia within 48 hours, the Russian Foreign Ministry informed Sunday

The story is rather complicated: Prague said that a "painstaking detective investigation" concluded not only that 18 Russian diplomats were responsible for an ammunitions deposit blast in 2014, but also that it found a link with the alleged poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England in 2018.

The Russian Foreign Ministry in turn slammed the accusations, calling the claims absurd and a provocation,adding that it is impossible not to see American influence behind the expulsion.


UK Spy Poisoning Case a 'Carefully-Constructed Drama, Propaganda'

"The Czech authorities made an unprecedented decision to expel 18 staffers of the Russian embassy under an unfounded and false pretext that Russian intelligence agencies had something to do with the 2014 explosion", the statement read. "This [accusation] sounds even more absurd considering that the Czech government earlier blamed the explosions on the companies that owned the warehouses".

Prague will inform Nato and European Union allies about its suspicions, and will discuss the matter at an EU foreign ministers' meeting on Monday, its acting Foreign Minister Jan Hamacek said.

According to the accusation, an email from Tajiskistan´s National Guard led investigators to the two suspects British authorities say were responsible for poisoning former Russian intelligence official Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England.

Both men had been also in Prague prior to the 2014 blast, Prague says. Britain claims the two alleged Russian military intelligence agents were responsible for the  poisoning.

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