The Czech Republic has 18 employees of the Russian Embassy | Free press


Prague (AP) – The Czech Republic accuses Russia of being involved in the explosion of an ammunition dump in 2014.

In response, 18 employees of the Russian embassy who are clearly identified as employees of the SWR and GRU secret services are being removed, Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said. You should leave the country within 48 hours. Hamacek also heads the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the time being.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis spoke of clear evidence. “The Czech Republic is a sovereign state and must respond appropriately to these unprecedented revelations,” said the 66-year-old. In October and December 2014, several explosions took place at the ammunition depot in Vrbetice in the east of the Czech Republic. Two people died and there was massive property damage.

Moscow responded promptly. Prague is very aware of what follows “such tricks,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Sakharov, according to the Interfax agency. Vladimir Jabarov of the Federation Council said, “The response must be proportional.” Other politicians in Moscow expressed their misunderstanding.

The Czech Police Special Unit for the fight against organized crime has published two mugshots. You agree with two suspects wanted in the UK in connection with the nervous attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal.

The alleged GRU spies would have been in the Czech Republic for six days in mid-October 2014 and also visited the region where the ammunition depot in question is located. They are said to have used Russian passports with the names Alexander Petrow and Ruslan Boschirow.

The ammunition depot was used by commercial weapons companies. There were hundreds of anti-personnel mines there. After the explosions, thousands of soldiers spent two years defusing duds and ammunition components and making the area safe again.

The Prague government’s announcement comes shortly after a heated dispute over Hamacek’s trip to Moscow, originally scheduled for Monday. The minister canceled the visit on Saturday after both the opposition and the prime minister sharply criticized the project.

Hamacek wanted to negotiate in Russia about possible deliveries of the Sputnik V corona vaccine. The last time there were violent tensions was in April 2020 after a statue to World War I Soviet General Ivan Konev was removed in Prague.