Saturday, November 27, 2021

May 31 expires ultimatum for the largest expulsion of Russian diplomats from the Czech Republic

The last of more than 60 Russian diplomats to leave the Czech Republic for Russia on Monday, May 31, as part of the largest expulsion of diplomats in the history of relations between the two countries.

The reason for the sharp deterioration of Prague’s relations with Moscow was the Czech government’s accusations of involving Russian agents in the explosions at ammunition depots in 2014, which killed two people and caused significant material damage.

EU countries as well as the United States and NATO have expressed solidarity with the Czech Republic, and some Eastern European countries have expelled Russian diplomats, including those accused of espionage.

Almost at the same time as the Czech accusations, the Bulgarian prosecution announced the link between the incident in the Czech Republic and the explosions at Bulgarian ammunition depots in 2015.

Prague and Sofia suspect that acts of sabotage are aimed at disrupting the arms supply to Ukraine.

The Czech Republic and Bulgaria, current members of NATO and former members of the Warsaw Pact, have inherited communist-era arsenals, as well as technologies for the production of weapons compatible with those used by the Ukrainian army.

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Russia has denied involvement in the incidents, calling the Czech Republic an “unfriendly” state on a May 14 list.

“This confirms that the Czech Republic’s response to the Vrbetice incident was correct and the reaction hit Russia so deeply that (Moscow) decided to include us on the list of unfriendly states along with the United States,” commented Czech Interior Minister Jan Gamacek.

The confrontation between Prague and Moscow and the demand for an equal number of diplomats in both countries means that from now on each mission can only have 7 diplomats and 25 administrative and technical staff as well as 19 local staff.

Also see: Washington has decided not to resume cooperation with Russia under the Open Skies Treaty. Video

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