Following allegations by Russian military intelligence (GRU) officers of involvement in an explosion at an ammunition depot in Vrbetice in 2014, Czech Prime Minister Andriy Babish has asked EU countries to consider sending “at least one Russian diplomat” in solidarity with the Czech Republic. .
He stated this on May 7 during an informal meeting of presidents and prime ministers of EU member states in Portugal, according to the Czech news agency CTK.
After the diplomatic scandal, the Czech Republic sent 18 employees of the Russian embassy, to which Russia sent 20 employees of the Czech embassy in Moscow in response.
The Czech side later announced the forcible expulsion of a group of other Russian diplomats from the Czech Republic by the end of May, to which Russia said it was moving “in strict parity.”
Slovakia and the Baltic states expressed solidarity with the Czech Republic by expelling Russian diplomats. Later, Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamachek said he expected similar steps from other countries, mentioning Britain and Germany.
A broader discussion on relations with Russia is expected to take place at the Council of Europe summit in late May.
“We must always understand that an attack on one of the [EU] member states is in fact an attack on all of us,” Babish said. That is why, in his opinion, each of the EU member states should also send at least one Russian diplomat.