PRAGUE, April 18. /TASS/. Five diplomats will continue to work at the Czech embassy in Moscow after Russia declared 20 embassy employees personae non grata, Rudolf Jindrak, head of the foreign department of the Czech president’s office, said on Sunday.
"Five diplomats will stay there [at the Czech embassy in Moscow]. People who are to leave [Russia] are not agents [of Czech intelligence services]. They have 24 hours to leave [Russia] whereas we gave [employees of the Russian embassy] 48 hours," he said, adding that practically all employees of the embassy’s political department are to leave Russia.
He also said he did not understand why the Russian side had expelled by two diplomats more than the Czech side.
Czech First Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamacek, who is also acting foreign minister, said that among those expelled from Russia were 16 diplomats and four technical personnel. The Czech air force will organize a special flight for them. "Ambassador [Vitezslav] Pivonka will stay in Moscow," he 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."
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.