The Czech government has decided to expel two diplomats from the Russian embassy in Prague because of their involvement in a scandal regarding the threats to poison Czech politicians.
As the Prime Minister of the country Andriy Babish stated at the press conference, two employees of the Russian embassy have been declared “persona non grata”. He also added, that according to the Czech Security and Information Service, one of the Russian diplomatic mission employees spread the false information about the planned attacks on Czech politicians, which has complicated relations between the states.
“The evidence from the Information Security Service (BIS) clearly proves that the whole affair arose as a result of the internal disputes between the Russian Embassy staff in Prague when one of them had sent the fictitious information to the BIS about a planned attack on Czech politicians”, the minister said.
During the press-conference, Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petrzychek said that the Czech part tried to resolve the situation through diplomacy and communicated regularly with the Russian embassy. “But a diplomatic solution appeared impossible, the Russian Federation did not give us another option. After careful consideration of the situation, we will start expelling the diplomatic representatives”, he stressed.
Meanwhile, the Czech media, referring to their own sources in the Foreign Ministry, wrote that an anonymous message to the Czech secret services had been sent by Igor Rybakov, an employee of the Russian Science and Culture Center in the Czech Republic, who had said that the acting head of Rossotrudnichestvo in the Czech Republic Andrei Konchakov had brought poison to Prague.
The Czech classified services did not search and detain Konchakov at the airport, as it was decided that the anonymous report could have been a provocation. As it was found during the investigation, Rybakov decided to impersonate his colleague for career reasons by providing the Czechs with false information.
The Russian embassy has already called the Czech government’s decision a “fabricated provocation” and a “hostile step” that shows official Prague’s unwillingness to normalize bilateral relations.
It will be recalled that the relations between the Czech Republic and Russia became more complicated after the dismantling of the monument to Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev in Prague. Later, the media reported that a Russian intelligence officer with a diplomatic passport had arrived in Prague, who allegedly brought ricin to poison Prague politicians. Due to this information, the Czech Republic provided protection to several persons.