Plane carrying expelled Russian diplomats leaves Prague

A reported 54 employees of the Russian Embassy in Prague left the country for Moscow on Saturday following a diplomatic rift.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 30.05.2021 09:59 (updated on 30.05.2021)

A special plane operated by the Russian government left Prague's Václav Havel Airport for Moscow at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, airport spokeswoman Klára Divíšková has confirmed to CTK.

The plane carried diplomats and other staff from the Russian embassy in Prague who were expelled from the Czech Republic over the recent Vrbětice case. Several dozen people boarded the plane.

The Russian news agency TASS reported that 54 employees of the Russian Embassy in Prague left the Czech Republic on Saturday, referring to information from Embassy press spokesperson Nikolay Bryakin.

Another group of embassy employees with their families, the number of whom the Embassy did not specify, is set to depart from Prague on Monday. They will also board a Rossiya Russian Airlines plane, TASS writes, adding that the process of balancing the number of the employees of the Russian embassy in Prague and the number of employees of the Czech Embassy in Moscow will then be complete.

Under a Czech government decision, dozens of diplomats and other employees of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Prague need to leave the Czech Republic by the end of May.

The first plane from Moscow landed at Prague's Václav Havel Airport at around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. A vehicle full of luggage, sent from the Embassy to the airport earlier, approached the plane after the landing. Several Czech police officers patrolled the terminal.

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The Czech Republic decided to expel employees of the Russian Embassy after a diplomatic rift between Prague and Moscow flared up on April 17 over Czech secret service suspicion that Russian GRU military secret service agents were behind the explosions in the ammunition 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. In reaction to the Russian step, Prague decided later to balance the number of the diplomats and other staff at the Russian Embassy in Prague with the number at the Czech Embassy in Moscow.

As for Czechs in Russia, 79 employees of the Czech Embassy, the Czech House, and the Czech Centre in Moscow will be dismissed by the end of May. A total of 71 employees have already received their dismissal as of May 21. A number of other countries have offered help to the Czech Republic with the operation of its Embassy in Moscow.

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