• Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Russia accuses Czechs of hysteria, warns against spy row escalation

  • Published at 11:11 am April 22nd, 2021
Web_Putin_Trump
File photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia December 19, 2019 Reuters

Russia ordered out 20 Czech diplomats on Sunday, after Prague expelled 18 Russians the day before

Russia said on Thursday it would retaliate against any new punitive steps by the Czech Republic against Russian diplomatic staff as a spy row between the two countries threatened to escalate into a new round of expulsions.

Russia ordered out 20 Czech diplomats on Sunday, after Prague expelled 18 Russians the day before. On Wednesday the Czech Republic demanded that Moscow allow the return of all 20 staff to Moscow by Thursday or face further evictions of its diplomats from Prague.

At a time of acute tensions in Russia's relations with the West, the dispute has prompted NATO and the European Union to throw their support behind the Czech Republic, which is a member of both blocs.

"Allies express deep concern over the destabilizing actions Russia continues to carry out across the Euro-Atlantic area, including on alliance territory, and stand in full solidarity with the Czech Republic," Nato's 30 allies said in a statement.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow took a negative view of Prague's "hysteria."

In the past week, Moscow has also kicked out diplomats from Bulgaria, Poland and the United States in retaliation for expulsions of its own staff.

‘Appropriate response’

President Vladimir Putin warned foreign powers in his state of the nation speech on Wednesday not to cross Russia's "red lines," saying Moscow would make them regret it.

The Czechs say the loss of the 20 staff has effectively paralyzed the functioning of their Moscow embassy, which is much smaller than the Russian mission in Prague.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, accused Czech authorities of staging a "performance" and pledged Moscow would hit back with an "appropriate response" if Prague took any more actions against Russian diplomats.

Prague expelled the 18 Russians, whom it identified as intelligence officers, after saying two Russian spies accused of a nerve agent poisoning in Britain in 2018 were behind a fatal explosion at a Czech ammunition depot four years earlier.

Russia has denied the accusations, which the Kremlin described as "provocative and unfriendly."

The two suspects named by Prague, known under the aliases Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, are reportedly part of the elite Unit 29155 of Russia's GRU military intelligence service.

Britain charged them in absentia with attempted murder after the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter with the nerve agent Novichok in the English city of Salisbury in 2018.

The Skripals survived, but a member of the public died. The Kremlin denied involvement in the incident.

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail