Govt limiting diplomats at Russian Embassy to figure permitted at Moscow Embassy

The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Jakub Kulhánek, says that the Czech government will limit the number of diplomats allowed at the Russian Embassy in Prague to the number that the Kremlin permits at the Czech Embassy in Moscow. Mr. Kulhánek said that the move was in response to the operations of Russian intelligence on Czech territory, which he said was a flagrant breach of Czech sovereignty.

The decision is valid from Thursday and Moscow has until the end of May to withdraw its people from Prague.

The move comes following earlier tit-for-tat expulsions that occurred after the Czech government said last weekend that Russian GRU agents had been behind explosions at a munitions depot in Moravia in 2014.

The Czech government had given the Kremlin until noon on Thursday to allow the 20 Czech diplomats expelled in recent days to return to Moscow. There are currently reported to be five or six staff members at the Czech Embassy in the Russian capital.

Author: Ian Willoughby