Mon, 15 Aug 2022

On the first day of its , the Czech Republic announced that it was reducing the staff of the Russian embassy in Prague to the number of Czech officials in Moscow.

The news was announced by the country's foreign minister Jakub Kulhanek at a press conference after a government meeting, quoted by Bulgarian media "SEGA".

This means that the Czech Republic will expel a total of 70 people from the Russian mission in the country, and this comes against the background of the reduction of 20 employees of the Czech Embassy in the Russian capital announced by Moscow.

Russia has reduced the number of Czech diplomats in the country after Prague expelled 18 Russian diplomats from Prague on espionage charges.

We remind you that on June 28 Bulgariathat it will expel 70 Russian officials from the Embassy in Sofia.

"Yesterday I told the ambassador that the Czech diplomats will not be returning in Moscow. We are limiting the number of Russian diplomats in Prague in accordance with the status of our embassy in Moscow. This decision is effective today. Russia has been given a deadline to recall its people from the Czech Republic until the end of May," Minister Kulhanek explained to journalists.

According to the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the staff of the Russian Embassy in Prague currently consists of 27 diplomats and another 67 technical staff, while the Czech representatives in Russia are 5 diplomats and 19 technical staff.

This means that 22 diplomats and 48 other employees of the Russian embassy - 70 people - must leave the Czech Republic by the end of May.

The actions of the Czech Foreign Ministry come after the country's Senate came out with a position that called on the government to make cuts in the composition of the Russian mission. The proposal of the upper house of the Czech parliament was to leave one person in the embassy, and the document was accepted with the votes of 67 of the total of 72 senators.

The reason for the vote was an investigation that showed that Russian agents were behind the 2014 explosion at the Vrabetice weapons depot, which destroyed ammunition belonging to the Bulgarian arms company EMKO. The senators described this act as terrorist.

The senators are also demanding that the Czech Republic denounce the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with Russia.

Last week, the Czech Republic expelled 18 Russian diplomats identified as agents of the Russian special services and issued a manhunt for alleged collaborators of the Russian foreign intelligence service GRU, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who are believed to have poisoned Sergei Skripal in Britain.

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Copyright (c) Published with permission via Big News Network news agency

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