On Saturday, 17th April 2021, the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and the interim Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Hamáček convened a press conference to announce that Russia’s military intelligence service GRU was involved in an explosion of the Czech ammunition depot in Vrbětice in 2014. In response to that, the Czech Republic has expelled 18 Russian intelligence officers from the Russian Embassy in Prague.
The Russian Federation responded asymmetrically and expelled 20 Czech diplomats from Russia. This move further increased the disparity between the numbers of diplomatic staff in the two countries. Russia now has approximately three times larger diplomatic and intelligence presence in the Czech Republic than the Czech Republic in Russia.
Based on the facts summarized in the report, the European Values Centre for Security Policy recommends the following steps:
1) Coordinated response of NATO and the EU
2) Expulsion of Russian intelligence officers under diplomatic cover
3) Exclude Rosatom from the tender for construction of the new nuclear reactor in the Dukovany nuclear plant
4) End manipulative attempts to purchase and use an unregistered Russian vaccine Sputnik V
5) End non-functional Czech-Russian consultations
6) Evaluate the activities of Russian and pro-Kremlin groups