MEPs call for coordinated expulsion of Russian diplomats in solidarity with Czechs

Members of the European Parliament on Thursday approved a resolution calling on EU countries to coordinate the expulsion of Russian diplomats in response to Prague’s allegations that Moscow was behind a 2014 ammunition depot explosion on Czech territory that left two dead.

Russian military intelligence agents had allegedly targeted munitions stored in Vrbětice by a Bulgarian arms dealer destined for sale to Ukraine. The Czech Republic expelled 18 Russian diplomats, and Moscow responded by sending 20 Czech Embassy staff home. In solidarity with Prague, Slovakia, the three Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) and Romania have already expelled Russian diplomats.

The European Parliament resolution, passed by the majority of 569 out of 682 MEPs, also condemned Russian threats targeting the Czech Republic in the ensuing diplomatic row. MEPs also called for tougher sanctions over Moscow’s aggressive conduct, reducing dependence on Russian energy, stopping the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and not letting the Russian energy firm Rosatom build nuclear plants in the EU.

Author: Brian Kenety