MOSCOW, April 23. /TASS/. The Czech Republic did not understand the consequences of its actions once it embarked on expelling Russian diplomats, but its Western string-pullers did not let Prague take one single step back and quickly roped them into this crusade, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.
"When Prague got entangled in this risky venture, I think, they did not anticipate the consequences. First, I think, they did not understand what they were signing up for, or what they were being drawn into by their Western sponsors. And later on, once they did probably grasp what had happened, they could do nothing. [Their Western handlers] did not permit them to take a single step back. That is why we see such absurd actions and very contradictory statements," she said in an interview with RT.
According to the Russian diplomat, there were gaps in the positions and views about the accusations against Russia inside the Czech Republic. "They were saying different things, both about the explosions [at the munitions depots in the village of Vrtebice], and about the accusations against Russia. There was, so to say, a cacophony of views," she said.
Moscow’s response to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Prague, in her words, came as a huge shock to the Czechs. "They said ‘parity,’ they got it. They were stunned but they received parity," she stressed.
On April 17, Czech officials announced a decision to expel 18 employees of the Russian Embassy in Prague, who were allegedly "officers of Russian intelligence services." In response, Moscow declared 20 employees of the Czech Embassy in Russia’s capital personae non gratae. Prague condemned this reponse as ‘inadequate" and demanded that they had to be returned back by 13:00 Moscow time on Thursday.
Prague claims Moscow was allegedly involved in the blasts at munitions depots in the village of Vrtebice, in the Czech Republic’s east, back in 2014. The Russian Foreign Ministry lodged a strong protest to the Czech government.