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Prague to put Vrbetice allegations against Moscow up for discussion at informal EU summit

The meeting will be hosted by Porto on May 8

BRUSSELS, May 5. /TASS/. The Czech Republic intends to submit their allegations against Russia over the Vrbetice incident as an item of the agenda at the informal EU summit which will be hosted by Porto on May 8, a diplomatic source told reporters on Wednesday.

"The Czech Republic intends to put the issue of Russia’s subversive actions in Vrbetice up for discussion at the informal meeting of the EU leaders," he noted. The diplomat recalled, "the meeting will be informal, therefore, no statements are planned after it."

Earlier, a TASS source in Brussels said that Prague’s statements, which were followed by the expulsion of Russian diplomats and Russia’s tit-for-tat expulsion of Czech diplomats along with Moscow’s sanctions against EU citizens and officials being adopted in response to the restrictions introduced by the European Union, would be discussed at the meeting of the EU foreign ministers on May 10 and the EU summit in Brussels on May 25.

The Czech authorities claim that Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, whom London accuses of attempting to assassinate the Skripals, allegedly had a hand in the 2014 ammunition depot blasts in the eastern Czech village of Vrbetice. On April 17, Prague 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 Russian Foreign Ministry protested against the move and declared 20 employees of the Czech Embassy in Moscow personae non gratae. Spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova noted that Prague’s refusal to provide any evidence supporting the accusations to Moscow demonstrates that they can only be regarded as fake.

The Czech Republic was actively working to persuade its EU and NATO partners to expel Russian diplomats in solidarity. The scandal gave rise to a new spiral of tensions in relations between Russia and the EU.