The Russian Foreign Ministry announced today that it is expelling diplomats from Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia in retaliation for the Baltic countries expelling Russian diplomats in a gesture of solidarity with the Czech Republic. According to the TASS agency, three employees of the Slovak embassy in Moscow will also have to leave Russia. According to the AFP agency, Russia expels a total of seven diplomats – three Slovaks, two Lithuanians and one diplomat each from Latvia and Estonia. It gave them a week to leave the country.
“Ambassador Ľubomír Řehák was told that the decision of the Slovak authorities to show pseudo-consolidation with the Czech Republic and his provocative anti-Russian campaign is damaging according to traditional friendly Russian-Slovak relations and constructive bilateral cooperation,” the TASS ministry said.
It is therefore unacceptable that the implication of the aid ans in the explosion of an ammunition charge en en is unacceptable. The external aggression against a European state is related to it. #solidarity with the Czech Republic pic.twitter.com/BL9LMPLbc4
– Nathalie Loiseau (@NathalieLoiseau) April 28, 2021
The Czech-Russian rift began after Prague announced that agents of Russian military intelligence GRU were reasonably suspected of explosions in city warehouses in Vrbětice in 2014. The Czech Republic and Russia subsequently expelled dozens of diplomats. As a sign of solidarity with the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia also fired Russian diplomats last week. Their ambassador was summoned for today by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“All I can say is that the meeting was professional. The Russian colleagues completed their task, we listened to them and gave their comments, and that was it. We will inform our capitals, “said the Latvian ambassador after the meeting, which, according to the TASS agency, lasted approximately 45 minutes.
MEPs will discuss the European Union’s response to the Czech Republic’s dispute with Russia over the bombing in Vrbetice today. A number of measures are at stake, including a total ban on Rosatom from participating in the construction of nuclear power plants in the 27-nation bloc.
Bulgaria blames six Russians for the explosions
In recent years, a number of explosions of ammunition and weapons depots have also occurred in Bulgaria, where part of the weapons from Vrbětice were to be directed. The Bulgarian prosecutor’s office has analyzed them in recent days and announced today that six Russian citizens are suspected of them. Three of them have already been charged with attempting to poison arms dealer Emilian Gebrev.
The four cases of suspected explosions have in common that the destroyed products were owned by Gebrev’s EMCO company. The weapons were useful for export to the former Soviet republics and Ukraine.
“In none of these cases was a specific technical failure or other cause of the fire identified. In all four months, the products were destroyed for export to Georgia and Ukraine, “the server quoted BNTnews from the statement of the prosecutor’s office.
The explosions in the four cases occurred after a fire alarm was triggered and people were evacuated from the site. The charged charges were then detonated remotely, the prosecutor’s office said. “The working version is that the reason for starting the fire was to get people to leave,” a spokeswoman quoted Mileva as saying on the Dnevnik.bg news server.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters today that Bulgaria is making even more accusations than Prague has made against Russia in recent days. “The time frame itself – the last ten years. Either the Bulgarian side knew nothing, and only now, when the Czech Republic suddenly remembered the events of 2014, did it decide to overthrow the Czech Republic by immersing itself even more in history. Or they knew what was going on all the time, but for some reason they didn’t publish it, “said the head of Russian diplomacy, according to the TASS agency.
In the previous days, the Bellingcat investigative group and Rádio Svobodná Evropa / Rádio Svoboda (RFE / RL) reported on the role of Russian intelligence in the explosions of Bulgarian ammunition depots, in which up to 15 people died in one case. According to that, alleged Russian agents were present in Bulgaria in 2014 and 2015, ie at the time of the explosions in six local weapons warehouses.