Czech Republic expels three Russian diplomats

The Czech Republic will expel three Russian diplomats in reaction to the recent poisoning of a former double agent and his daughter in Great Britain.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said the measure was a display of solidarity with the UK and charged that Russia had gone far over the line with the claim that the nerve agent used in the attack could have originated in Czechia. The prime minister made the statement after meeting with members of his cabinet including foreign minister Martin Stropnický.

Mr Babiš told journalists that he had also been in contact with the country’s president over the matter. The prime minister stressed that the Czech Republic was firmly integrated within the EU and NATO and made clear that when the country was asked by an ally for help in a grave situation, the country would respond.

On Monday, CNN reported that in the US, President Donald Trump had ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle in response to the UK nerve agent attack; European countries besides the Czech Republic which have already done so include Germany, France, and Poland but the wave of expulsions is expected to continue.

Federica Mogherini – the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – recalled the EU ambassador in Russia for consultations. EU leaders agreed last week it was highly likely Russia was behind the nerve agent poisoning.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova condemned the EU for its "perverted interpretation of solidarity" with the UK, CNN reported, adding that Russia had indicated it would respond "proportionately".

Russia has denied any role in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter; the pair remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Author: Jan Velinger