PRAGUE, June 1. /TASS/. The Czech authorities are committed to the idea of demanding compensation from Russia for the damage allegedly caused by the 2014 Vrbetice ammunition warehouses explosions, Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek told reporters.
Prague has already drafted a request for Moscow. "We are working on this [receiving compensation from Russia for the damage] jointly with the lawyers of the Finance Ministry. We already have a certain draft [of a request for compensation]. We are still waiting [for information] from the agencies conducting the criminal investigation. I believe soon we will be able to claim compensation from Russia for the damage," Kulhanek said.
The foreign minister predicts that Prague will take necessary steps this June. However, a rather complicated international procedure will be used, he noted.
Relations between Russia and the Czech Republic soured after April 17 when the Czech authorities claimed that Russia was allegedly behind the blasts at munitions depots in the village of Vrbetice in the east of the Czech Republic in 2014 and expelled 18 Russian diplomats who, it claimed, were officers of Russian intelligence services. The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed resolute protests following Prague’s step made "under ungrounded and far-fetched pretexts" and declared 20 employees of the Czech embassy in Moscow personae non gratae.
Later, the sides agreed to align the embassies’ personnel on a parity basis. From June 1, each of them will be allowed to have seven diplomats, 25 technical personnel and 19 locally-hired employees.
Earlier, Czech Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Alena Schillerova said the Czech Republic intended to claim at least 1 bln koruna (approximately 39 mln euro) from Russia as a compensation of material damages for blasts in depots in Vrbetice village.