Only Czech Republic, U.S. make Russia's new list of enemies

Russia has declared the Czech Republic and U.S. hostile states, and limited the number of diplomats from them allowed to work in Russia.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 15.05.2021 09:57 (updated on 15.05.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague considers Russia's decision to list the Czech Republic as one of two hostile countries to be another step in the escalation on tension with not only the Czech Republic, but also with the European Union and its allies, the Czech Foreign Ministry has stated in a press release.

The Russian government issued the list of hostile countries, which includes only the Czech Republic and USA, yesterday.

It also limited the number of people who are allowed to work for those countries in Russia in a regulation released online. While no one is allowed to work for the United States in Russia, 19 people are allowed to work for the Czech Republic.

According to the Czech Foreign Ministry, such a step is completely at odds with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, mainly the commitment to allow regular work of diplomatic missions and the principle of not discriminating against relations between particular countries.

"We regret that Russia has chosen this path of confrontation to its own detriment, since such a measure will have an indirect influence on a possible development of contacts between ordinary citizens, on tourism, and the development of commercial relations," the Ministry noted.

The Czech Republic's decision to set the limit for the number of employees at the Russian embassy in Prague will not change in connection with the Russian government's step. "Unlike the Russian procedure, our step is in full harmony with the international law," Czech diplomacy added.

A diplomatic rift between Prague and Moscow flared up on April 17 over the presentation of Czech secret service suspicion that Russian GRU military secret service agents were behind explosions in an ammo depot in Vrbětice, south Moravia, in 2014.

The Czech Republic expelled 18 employees of the Russian Embassy in Prague, and Moscow retaliated by expelling 20 workers of the Czech embassy in Moscow.

The Czech government also excluded the Russian company Rosatom from a tender for the construction of a new unit in the Dukovany nuclear power plant, south Moravia.

Moscow rejects the accusations, and Russian representatives have repeatedly called them unsubstantiated, controversial, irresponsible and provocative.

Deputy PM and Interior Minister Jan Hamáček wrote CTK that the steps taken by Russia confirm that the Czech Republic had reacted correctly in the Vrbětice case.

"The resolute Czech response of breaking up of the GRU and SVR (Russian foreign intelligence service) residencies in our territory has impacted Russia to such a high extent that it considered it necessary to include us in a list of hostile countries together with the USA. I am proud of being able to participate in the preparation and implementation of this response from the Czech Republic," Hamáček said.

President Miloš Zeman will comment on the affair in a Sunday interview with radio station Frekvence 1, his spokesperson Jiří Ovčáček said.

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The Russian newspaper Kommersant wrote that the government had established the list of hostile countries on the basis of the presidential decree entitled "On the application of counter-measures in reaction to hostile steps by other countries."

President Vladimir Putin signed the decree on April 23, at the time when new diplomatic conflicts were escalating. The government regulation released today says the list includes the states that are "carrying out hostile actions against the Russian Federation, its citizens, or Russian legal entities."

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