Police units from the National Centre for Combating Organised Crime (NCOZ) of the Czech Republic have detained at least five Czechs who were members of paramilitary groups and who are suspected of taking part in the fighting in eastern Ukraine on the side of pro-Russian militants.

According to the Czech media outlets Respekt and Aktuálně.cz, the detainees are suspected of traveling or organising trips of Czech citizens to Donbas to take part in hostilities against the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

According to one of the suspects, the detainees were led by officers from the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Federation who worked at the Russian Embassy in Prague and have recently been deported from the Czech Republic.

Hundreds of police officers were involved in the operation. According to journalists, law enforcement officers feared that the suspects would put up armed resistance. Many of them have legal weapons at home.

NCOZ representative Jaroslav Ibehej said that criminal proceedings are underway, but he did not provide details.

As a reminder, the Czech Republic accused Russia of organising an explosion at an arms and ammunition depot in October 2014. After that, 18 Russian diplomats were expelled from Prague.

Bohdan Marusyak

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