All news
Updated at: 

Czech counterintelligence finds no proof of Russians’ presence in Vrbetice - president

Nevertheless, Milos Zeman noted that it should not be said that the suspicion on the two foreign agents’ involvement in the incident was not serious

PRAGUE, April 25. /TASS/. The evidence that some "Russian agents" were present at the ammo depot in the village of Vrbetice was not mentioned in the reports of the Czech Republic’s Security Information Service, Czech President Milos Zeman said in his emergency televised address in connection with the 2014 incident on Sunday.

"I can state that the report of the Security Information Service says and I underline this - that there is neither proof nor evidence [of eyewitnesses] that these two agents [the Russians who were accused of involvement in the incident - TASS] were at the [ammo depot] in Vrbetice. When the premises of the second depot were examined right before the explosion there, no explosive device was found there," Zeman said in his address broadcast by Prima and CNN Prima News TV channels.

The president stressed that the suspicion about the alleged role of two foreign agents in the 2014 ammo depot explosions in Vrbetice came to the surface over the past weeks. "The Security Information Service had never before mentioned the incident in Vrbetice over the past six years," he noted.

Nevertheless, Zeman noted that it should not be said that the suspicion on the two foreign agents’ involvement in the incident was not serious. "First, we should answer the question what they were actually doing here. Second, the fact that the counterintelligence did not prove their complicity [in the incident] does not mean that they did not enter the premises of the Vrbetice depots. Police are investigating the theory that they could have been brought there by one of the IMEX firm owners (this company rented the warehouses). This suspicion should be ruled out or confirm," he noted.

The president did not rule out that the scandal with the incident in Vrbetice could be a game of special services. In this case, the Czech Republic could face serious consequences.

On April 17, the 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." On the same day, Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, whom the Czech authorities claim were supposedly involved in the 2014 ammunition depot blast in the Czech village of Vrbetice, were declared to be wanted individuals. The Russian Foreign Ministry protested against the move that Prague had taken "under false pretenses," and declared 20 employees of the Czech Embassy in Moscow personae non grata.