Diplomat: Prague’s statements meant to ‘override’ report about state coup plans in Belarus

The expulsion of Russian diplomats from the Czech Republic has demonstrated that this country’s authorities lack independence in their foreign policy and relations with Russia, Maria Zakharova noted

MOSCOW, April 18. /TASS/. The West was obviously seeking to "override" reports about plans of a state coup in Belarus by Prague’s statements about the expulsion of Russian diplomats, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday.

"It looks like, and such impressions is backed by actual material, that in the information space, first all, Western information space, our Western partners sought to override the importance and topicality of information released by both Russia and Belarus about not simply a plot but an actual plan of a constitutional coup," she said in an interview with the Rossiya-1 television channel when asked to comment on why reports about state coup plans and Prague’s statement on the expulsion of Russian diplomats came concurrently.

According to the Russian diplomat, the situation was quite satirical. "They could not fail to anticipate the reaction that would follow because their actions were quite grotesque. Why are they doing it? Because they are sparing no effort to divert attention from facts," she added.

The expulsion of Russian diplomats from the Czech Republic has demonstrated that this country’s authorities lack independence in their foreign policy and relations with Russia, Zakharova noted.

"Prague’s actions are absolutely caricature. Thus, yesterday it demonstrated the lack of any independent policy in international affairs, and, in particular, in bilateral relations with our country," she said.

"This is the 21st century vassalage," she noted. "The United States has triggered - in the active information and political space - a mechanism of vassalage at a new technological level, but the principle behind it is the same. Both Warsaw and Prague are serving the United States’ interests."

Russia will soon announce concrete steps in response to the expulsion of Russian diplomats, Zakharova pointed out.

She refrained from saying how tough these measures would be. "A whole working week is ahead. It was important to give a clear response to such steps and the concrete implementation of this decision will follow, I think, in the near future," she said.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and First Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamacek on Saturday announced the expulsion of 18 employees of the Russian embassy in Prague, who were allegedly "officers of Russian special services." They were given 48 hours to leave the Czech Republic. The move came in the context of the newly leveled circumstance 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.

On the same day, Czech police spokesman Jaroslav Ibehej told journalists that Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov had been put on the national wanted list on suspicion of being involved in committing grave crimes. Thus, the Czech special service claim that the two men had been seen on the territory of a munitions depot in the village of Vrbetice in the east of the Czech Republic on October 15, 2014, or a day before a powerful blast that killed two people.

The Russian expressed resolute protest over this step taken "under invented and ungrounded pretexts" and vowed response measures would follow.

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