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Ex-Czech president condemns decision to extradite Russian national to US

April 05, 15:37 UTC+3 PRAGUE

Former Czech President Vaclav Klaus has described the decision to extradite Russian citizen Yevgeny Nikulin to the US and expel three Russian diplomats as a huge mistake

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Former Czech president Vaclav Klaus

Former Czech president Vaclav Klaus

© AP Photo/Susan Walsh

PRAGUE, April 5. /TASS/. Vaclav Klaus who served as the President of the Czech Republic from 2003 to 2013 has described the current authorities’ decision to extradite Russian citizen Yevgeny Nikulin to the United States and expel three Russian diplomats over the Skripal saga as a huge mistake.

"The Czech Republic made a political decision [to extradite Nikulin], and I believe it was a fatal error," he stressed in an interview with the Mlada fronta Dnes daily published on Thursday. "I fundamentally disagree with it."

The former president noted that the Russian citizen’s extradition who had been detained in Prague 18 months ago at Washington’s request is "a political issue." Czech officials’ references to the legal aspects of the case are unjustified, the politician added.

According to Klaus, 76, Nikulin’s extradition to the US could adversely affect relations between Prague and Washington. By extraditing the Russian national, the Czech Republic "got involved in an internal US feud" between President Donald Trump and his adversaries, he pointed out.

He castigated the expulsion of Russian diplomats over the Skripal case branding it "infantile behavior." "If Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria or Hungary did nothing like that, then I would like to be a citizen of those countries," he said.

The former Czech leader noted that the UK had failed to produce any evidence to substantiate its allegations about Moscow’s involvement in the poisoning of the former Russian military intelligence officer-turned-British spy and his daughter. London demanded that its statements be taken at their face value, something that no other country can afford to do, Klaus noted.

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