Central Europe

Czech Republic Expels 18 Russian Diplomats Suspected In 2014 Ammo Dump Explosion

Vlachovice, Zlín District, Czech Republic, part Vrbětice
Image by Palickap

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The Czech Republic today expelled 18 Russian diplomats suspected of being involved in the 2014 explosion that damaged an ammunition facility in the town of Vrbetice.

“As the Czech foreign minister, I decided to expel all the employees of the Russian embassy in Prague who have been clearly identified by our special services as officers of the Russian intelligence agencies SVR and GRU. Within 48 hours, 18 staff members of the Russian embassy must leave the Czech Republic,” said First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Jan Hamacek, who is also Acting Foreign Minister, reported Russian state news agency TASS.

“We are in the same situation as the UK was after the poisoning attempt [of the Skripals] in Salisbury in 2018. By 19.00 (20.00 Moscow time – TASS), I summoned the Russian ambassador [to the Czech Republic Alexander] Zmeyevsky and informed him about it,” Hamacek said.

Hamacek said he had “decided to expel all personnel at the Russian embassy in Prague who were clearly identified by our secret services as officers of Russia’s secret services, SVR and GRU,” reported Reuters.

“There is well-grounded suspicion about the involvement of officers of the Russian intelligence service GRU, unit 29155, in the explosion of ammunitions depot in the Vrbetice area,” Czech Prime Minister Babis said.

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