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EU slams Russia’s ‘disproportionate reaction’ to Czech Republic’s expulsion of diplomats

The European Union vowed to back all the next steps taken by the Czech Republic

BRUSSELS, April 21. /TASS/. The European Union has blasted Moscow’s reaction to Prague’s decision to expel Russian diplomats from the country as disproportionate and vowed to back all the next steps taken by the Czech Republic, top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement issued in Brussels Wednesday.

"The European Union expresses full solidarity with the Czech Republic, supports the actions taken by its authorities so far and stands ready to support its further efforts to bring those responsible to justice. The EU condemns the disproportionate reaction and subsequent threats of Russian Federation towards the Czech Republic," the statement reads.

According to Borrell, "The EU takes extremely seriously the conclusions by the Czech authorities, based on extensive investigations, that officers of the Russian military intelligence GRU perpetrated these actions." "The European Union is deeply concerned by any gross violation of international law and sovereignty of the Czech Republic, as well as any such action targeting any other EU Member State. Russia must desist from activities that threaten security and stability in Europe and run counter to Russia’s international obligations," Borrell noted in the statement.

The chief EU diplomat added, "Disruptive actions of Russian intelligence services against the interests and security of the EU and its member states will continue to be met with the staunchest resolve, including at the level of the European Union, as appropriate."

On April 17, Czech authorities announced the expulsion of 18 employees of the Russian Embassy in Prague, who, according to the Czech authorities, are "officers of Russia’s SVR and GRU intelligence agencies." The Czech Republic claimed that the so-called newly-discovered circumstances related to the 2014 Vrbetice explosion were the reason behind the move. The Russian Foreign Ministry protested the step that Prague had taken "under false pretenses," and declared 20 employees of the Czech Embassy in Moscow personae non grata in response.