The Russian Foreign Ministry declared 20 Czech diplomats personae non-gratae. They must leave Russia before April 20. The decision was made after Czech officials expelled 18 diplomats to Moscow.
On April 17, citing allegations of the involvement of the Russian intelligence in a blast at a military depot in the Czech Republic that took place in 2014, the Czech government ordered 18 Russian diplomats out of the country during 48 hours. Initially, the blast was thought to be an accident. The Czech special services considered that employees of the Russian special services were working under diplomatic cover.
At the same time, the alleged employees of the General Staff of the Ministry of Defense, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were put on the wanted list. According to the claims by Czech officials, in 2014 they came to the Zlín region, where the ammunition depot was located.
British intelligence suspects Boshirov and Petrov are already famous for their alleged involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
The new information about the alleged Russian involvement in the blast of the military depot appeared 7 years after the incident and it is exactly when the Czech Republic is to open a tender for the construction of a new power unit.
“The participation of the Russian state corporation “Rosatom” in the tender for the construction of a new power unit of the Dukovany nuclear power plant in the south-east of the Czech Republic seems to be unlikely” – Czech Minister of Industry and Trade of the country Karel Gavlicek said.
Among other candidates there are the American-Canadian company Westinghouse, the French EDF and the South Korean KHNP. Last month, Prague with support from Washington refused China General Nuclear Power to take part in the tender.
“The decision on the tender for Dukovany depends entirely on the Czech Republic. But we urge the government to launch a transparent selection process that prioritizes national security. ” – US Embassy in the Czech Republic reported.
In early April, the US embassy in Prague stressed out that Russian participation in the project is not welcomed, citing US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. He has previously stated that Moscow and Beijing allegedly use access to critical resources of the White House allies, in order to put pressure on them. US Department of State also supported the Czech decision to expel Russian diplomats.
The transparent selection process is not like that anymore.
On April 15, the US expelled ten Russian diplomats, also claiming that allegedly there were representatives of the Russian special services.
In response, US Ambassador John Sullivan was advised to go “home for consultations.” In fact, the Russians authorities are expelling the American ambassador. 10 American diplomats were also expelled from Moscow.
The expulsion of diplomats is nothing more than a demonstration of dissatisfaction with the mutual relations between the parties. At the same time, amid all the recent development, including the tightening of military rhetoric, increase in the military presence along the borders, this is a one more signal that the opposing sides are preparing for war.
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