Russia expels 20 Czech diplomats

The work of the Czech Embassy in Moscow has almost come to a standstill after 20 diplomats were expelled, First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Jan Hamacek told a press conference Monday, Sputnik reported.

He said 20 diplomats had been expelled out of a total of about 30 diplomats at the embassy, which paralyzed the work of the embassy.

“Only the consular section is still working,” Mr. Hamacek said at the news conference.

The political and economic ministries have been closed. It’s a big strike to the embassy.”

He said it was possible to send diplomats from Russian consulates general in other cities to the embassy in Moscow.

Czech Prime Minister Andrei Babis said earlier that the government suspected Russian special forces were involved in the 2014 explosion of an ammunition depot in Vbettsa. First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamacek said 18 Russian diplomats would be expelled.

Russia announced on Monday that it would take retaliatory measures against its diplomats expelled from Prague. The Czech ambassador to Russia, Viteslav Pivonka, summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, was told that 20 members of the Czech embassy had been declared person who were not welcomed and they had to leave the country within 24 hours.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has stressed that the claims of involvement of Russian special forces in the Vbettsa bombing are absurd, baseless and imaginary.