MOSCOW, April 18. /TASS/. Russia voices a resolute protest against the Czech Republic’s authorities in connection with the expulsion of 18 staff of the Russian Embassy and will take retaliatory measures, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"The Czech authorities made an unprecedented decision to expel 18 staff of Russia’s Embassy under unfounded and far-fetched pretexts regarding the Russian special services’ involvement in the 2014 explosion at military warehouses in the Vrbetice village. This is even more absurd, since earlier the Czech leadership put the blame for the explosions on the firms that own these warehouses," Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"We voice a resolute protest to the Czech authorities. We will take retaliatory measures, which will force the masterminds of this provocation to realize their full responsibility for ruining the basis of normal relations between our countries," the document said.
According to the Foreign Ministry, "this hostile step" is a follow-up to a series of anti-Russian actions taken by the Czech Republic in recent years. "A US trace cannot be also ignored here. In their efforts to please the US amid the recent American sanctions against Russia, the Czech authorities have even outperformed their overseas masters," the Russian Foreign Ministry stated.
On October 16, 2014, some 50 tonnes of ammunition exploded in Vrbetice, in eastern Czech Republic. The debris was scattered 800 meters from the scene, killing two staff of a local company Imex Group. All citizens of the village were immediately evacuated.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and First Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamacek on Saturday announced the expulsion of 18 staff of Russia’s Embassy in Prague, who were allegedly "officers of Russian special services."
This move came in connection with the newly revealed consequences of the 2014 blast at the ammunition depot in the village of Vrbetice. According to reports, "officers of Russia’s military intelligence" were allegedly involved in this incident.