The Czech Republic will reduce the composition of the Russian embassy to the level of a diplomatic mission in Moscow, said Foreign Minister Yakub Kulganek.
Last week, the Czech Republic accused Russia of being involved in an explosion at an ammunition depot in Vrbetica in 2014. Among the suspects were named Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, whom London is looking for in the case of the poisoning of a former GRU officer Sergei Skripal. Prague expelled 18 embassy employees, and anti-Russian sentiments intensified in the country.
In response, Moscow declared 20 employees of the Czech diplomatic mission persona non grata (almost two-thirds of the entire staff), they have already returned to their homeland. In Prague, they said they did not expect such a reaction, the functioning of the embassy was practically paralyzed. Today Kulganek allowed the expulsion of up to 60 Russians to achieve “numerical parity”.
The Kremlin called the accusations of involvement in the incident at the arsenal outrageous and unfounded. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described the situation as a “marasmic parade”. Russia has promised that the Czech Republic will pay a “colossal price” for what happened.
Prague is counting on the support of the West in this matter. On Wednesday, the country’s Foreign Ministry requested a new meeting with NATO and invited the alliance to issue a joint anti-Russian statement.The Czech version of the British scandal is part of a well-oiled system of confrontation between the West and Russia