Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for April 19, 2021

Twenty Czech diplomats must leave Moscow by Monday, Rosatom not expected to remain among Dukovany bidders, and temps could reach 17°C this week. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 19.04.2021 10:00:00 (updated on 19.04.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Russia expels 20 employees from the Czech embassy in Moscow

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced at a Saturday evening press conference that Czech security forces had determined that the Russian GRU intelligence service was involved in the explosion of the ammunition depot in Vrbětice in 2014. In response, the Czech Republic said it would expel 18 employees of the Russian embassy who were identified as members of the Russian secret services. Russia retaliated on Sunday evening by expelling 20 Czech embassy employees who it ordered to leave the country on Monday. A meeting of the Czech government to discuss Russia's involvement with the explosions is scheduled for Monday afternoon. Outgoing foreign minister Tomáš Petříček tweeted Sunday night, "Reciprocity was to be expected, but the expulsion of 20 employees of our embassy is not an appropriate response from the Russian side. I expect that a response must come from us now."

Czech PM: Rosatom should not remain among Dukovany bidders

Russian firm Rosatom should not remain among potential bidders for the construction of a new unit in the Czech Dukovany nuclear power plant, PM Andrej Babiš told Czech Television Sunday evening, adding that he expects the cabinet will not include Rosatom in the security assessment of bidders. In the coming days, the Czech Republic was to send a safety questionnaire to those interested in the Dukovan construction. The Russian company Rosatom is also one of the applicants. "I can't imagine Rosatom getting into the safety assessment at the moment," said Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček who said it is up to the cabinet to decide. Havlíček said he considers the findings of the Czech security forces that connect Russian to the 2014 explosion in Vrbětice to be absolutely unacceptable and has no reason to doubt them. 

Temps in the Czech Republic could hit 17°C by Wednesday

Cold weather will continue this week with showers in some places, but compared to previous days, the weather is expected to warm up, though temperatures will remain unusually low for the end of April. The warmest day of the week will probably be Wednesday when it should reach a maximum between 13°C and 17°C, with cooler weather expected from Thursday, said the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMI). Toward the end of the week, night temperatures will drop below zero in many places and snow could appear in the mountains again.

Siemens and Skoda win tender to bring new rail carriages to Czech Republic

Siemens Mobility and Skoda Transportation have won the contract tender to provide 20 Viaddio Comfort sets, made up of nine cars to Czech Railways as it continues to modernize its fleet of railway rolling stock for long-distance and international railway lines. With a maximum operating speed of 230kph, the 180 carriages will be delivered between 2024 and 2026. The contract for the carriages is worth around half a billion euros. The 180 carriages are intended to be used for ČD passenger transport and two additional carriages are expected to be purchased by Czech Railways for rail testing. Once built, the carriages will be approved for use in Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland.

Weekend opening of Lysice chateau gardens sees 200 visitors

On Sunday more than two hundred people arrived at the opening of the castle gardens in Lysice in the Blansko region of the Czech Republic. The garden was open to the public for the first time this year on Saturday; on Sunday it was accessible free of charge as part of the International Day of Monuments. The garden will close to the public for restoration after June. The restoration of the garden should take about two and a half years and should return the garden to its late 19th-century appearance. The state chateau in Lysice was originally a water fortress, later it was rebuilt into a Renaissance chateau, which subsequently underwent Baroque alterations. Last year, it was visited by more than 29,000 people.

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