After the Czech Republic accused two Russian spies of involvement in the 2014 Czech arsenal bombing and expelled 18 Russian diplomats, the Kremlin retaliated on Sunday (18) and announced the expulsion of 20 Czech diplomats.
Reuters reported that on April 17, the Czech government requested 18 Russian embassy personnel to leave the country within 72 hours on the grounds that Russian intelligence personnel was suspected of participating in the 2014 Czech arsenal explosion.
Czech Prime Minister Babis said that the Czech intelligence and security services have “sufficient evidence” to suspect that Russian intelligence personnel was involved in the 2014 Czech arsenal explosion. In response, the Czech Republic will expel 18 Russian embassy personnel in the Czech Republic. Czech President Zeman understands the matter and fully agrees with this decision.
The Czech Republic has notified NATO and EU allies of its investigation results, and EU foreign ministers will discuss the matter at a meeting on Monday.
Russia said on Sunday that the Czech Republic’s move was intended to please the United States and ordered 20 Czech diplomats to leave the country within 24 hours.
The US State Department expressed appreciation for the Czech Republic’s firm response to “Russia’s subversive actions on Czech territory.”
The two Russians accused of involvement in the bombing of the Czech arsenal were previously designated by the British government as the people behind the nerve agent attack on the Russian double agent Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England in 2018.
In October 2014, an explosion occurred in an arsenal in the Zlín Region of the southeastern Czech Republic, killing two people. In December of the same year, another explosion occurred in another arsenal in the area.