The Czech Republic protested against Russia’s inclusion in the list of unfriendly foreign states. In addition, the authorities in Prague called on Moscow to compensate for the damage from the explosions at the military depot in Vrbetica in 2014, in which they blame the Russian special services for involvement. On Monday, June 28, Russian Ambassador Alexander Zmeevsky was summoned to the country’s Foreign Ministry, a representative of the department in Prague said.
Deputy Minister Martin Smolek, who oversees the legal and consular departments, invited the Russian ambassador to discuss with him two open international legal issues in bilateral relations, according to a statement posted on the website of the Czech Foreign Ministry. Smolek pointed out that Moscow’s decision to include the Czech Republic in the list of unfriendly countries contradicts the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the 1993 Treaty on Friendly Relations and Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Czech Republic.
According to media reports, the damage is estimated at 25.5 million euros
Zmeevsky was handed a note of protest, in which Prague called on the Russian side to begin negotiations on “full compensation for damage” in connection with the explosions in 2014. According to the publication Mlada fronta Dnes, the Czech Republic estimated the damage from the explosions at about 650 million kroons (in terms of 25.5 million euros).
In response to the statement of the Czech Foreign Ministry, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, noted that with each new statement the Czech Republic confirms its status as a country unfriendly to Russia. Zakharova compared Prague’s claim for damages in connection with the explosions to extortion.
Conflict between the Russian Federation and the Czech Republic
A diplomatic scandal between Russia and the Czech Republic erupted after Andrei Babis and Czech Foreign Minister Jan Hamacek reported on April 17 evidence of the involvement of Russian military intelligence in the explosions at ammunition depots in the village of Vrbetice in 2014. In this regard, Prague expelled 18 Russian diplomats. In turn, Moscow denied all charges against it and announced the expulsion of 20 Czech diplomats.
As a sign of solidarity with the Czech Republic, Russian diplomats were also expelled from Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. For its part, Bulgaria announced at the end of April one of the employees of the Russian embassy in Sofia persona non grata in connection with suspicions of the involvement of the Russian special services in four explosions at military warehouses and factories that occurred between 2011 and 2020.