Russia Expels Czech Diplomats, Paralyses Embassy in Moscow
Russia ordered 20 Czech diplomats, including deputy to Ambassador, to leave the country, after Prague revealed that Moscow agents blew up the ammunition warehouse killing two Czechs.
Czech government’s expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats it identified as spies for a military intelligence agency that Prague claims was involved in a 2014 ammunition depot explosion. Russians offering no explanation nor apologies ordered 20 Czech diplomats, including deputy to Ambassador, to leave the country. Moscow ban on Czech Embassy to hire Russians and other foreign nationals paralysed work of the Embassy.
Czech Prime Minister Mr. Andrej Babis said Saturday that the expulsions were based on “unequivocal evidence” provided by the Czech intelligence and security services that points to the involvement of Russian military agents in the massive 2014 explosion in an eastern town that killed two people.
Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek, who is also serving as the country’s foreign minister, said the 18 Russian Embassy staffers were clearly identified as spies from the GRU and SVR, Russia’s military and foreign intelligence services.
At the same time, the Czech police organized crime unit on Saturday published photos of two foreign citizens who visited the country, including where the depot was located, between Oct. 11 and Oct. 16 in 2014 and asked the public for any information about them.
The two men traveled to Prague using Russian passports. Czech police said the names and photos matched two Russians whom British authorities charged in absentia in 2018 with trying with trying to kill former Russian spy Mr. Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with the Soviet nerve agent Novichok, in Salisbury, England.
The Skripals survived, but a local woman who is believed to have touched an empty container bearing traces of the nerve agent died.