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Czech Republic Demands Compensation From Russia For 2014 Explosion

The 2014 explosion killed two people.
The 2014 explosion killed two people.

The Czech Republic has demanded that Russia pay compensation for the 2014 explosion at an arms depot that Prague has blamed on Russian intelligence agents.

The Czech announcement in April accusing Moscow of involvement in the blast sent bilateral relations into a tailspin, with Prague expelling many of Russia’s numerous diplomatic personnel.

Moscow, which denied involvement, responded similarly.

The blasts, which killed two people, had remained a mystery until this year.

The Czech Foreign Ministry said on June 28 it had summoned Ambassador Aleksandr Zmeyevsky to request full compensation

Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek handed Zmeyevsky a diplomatic note “invoking the responsibility of the Russian Federation under international law for its involvement in the explosions of the ammunition depot in Vrbetice in 2014.”

The Czech demand drew a swift response from Moscow.

“Those who act like that, demanding payments using threats and insults without an investigation or trial, are called extortionists,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a post on her Telegram channel.

The Czechs specifically named two Russians who have also been accused by Britain for involvement in the 2018 poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England.

In its statement, the Czech Foreign Ministry also said Smolek had requested that Russia revoke its decision to designate the Czech Republic as an “unfriendly state.”

That label, which was also applied to the United States, severely limits the hiring of local staff for positions at embassies and consulates.

With reporting by AP
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