First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic Jan Hamacek said that Moscow’s reaction to the expulsion of Russian diplomats turned out to be stronger than expected, since among the 20 deported employees of the Czech embassy in Moscow was a deputy, Novinky.cz writes.
“The reaction was very strong, it was one step higher, because the most senior deportee was the deputy ambassador. The fact that he was deported is a situation to which the Czech Republic must respond, ”the diplomat said at a briefing.
Hamacek also indicated his intention to discuss further steps in relation to Russia with Czech Prime Minister Andrei Babis.
On Saturday, the head of the Czech government said that the authorities suspect the Russian special services of involvement in the explosion at an ammunition depot in Vrbetica in 2014. Hamacek said that 18 Russian diplomats will be expelled from the country, who are to leave the Czech Republic in the next 48 hours.
On Sunday, Moscow announced retaliatory measures. The ambassador of the Czech Republic, Vitezslav Pivonka, summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, was informed that 20 embassy employees were declared persona non grata, who must leave Russia within one day.
The Russian Foreign Ministry called the statements about the involvement of the Russian special services in the explosion in Vrbetica absurd, unfounded and far-fetched.