Petr Dubinsky

Czechs Ask Russia For ‘Full Compensation’ For 2014 Arms Depot Blasts

Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek handed over a diplomatic note to Russia’s ambassador to the Czech Republic, Alexander Zmeevsky, asserting Russia’s international legal responsibility for their involvement in the explosion of an ammunition depot in Vrbětice. Czechia is also demanding full compensation for damages caused by explosions.

“Deputy Smolek handed over to the Russian ambassador a diplomatic note asserting the Russian Federation’s international responsibility for its involvement in the 2014 Vrbětice ammunition depot explosions, demanding full compensation for the damage caused by this internationally illegal act and calling on the Russian side to act on the matter,” the ministry said.

Smolek also told the ambassador that the inclusion of the Czech Republic in the list of “unfriendly” states constitutes a violation of international law. These include the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Treaty on Friendly Relations and Cooperation. According to Czech diplomacy, the regulation should be repealed.

The diplomatic rift with Russia was caused by the finding of Czech secret services and investigators that Russian secret service agents were involved in the explosions in ammunition depots in 2014. In April, the Czechia decided to expel 18 employees of the embassy, which it described as officers of the Russian secret services. Moscow responded by expelling 20 diplomats or embassy staff in the Russian capital.

After that, the Czech Republic decided to expel other workers, whose departure Russia had until the end of May. Moscow then announced that it was switching to “strict parity” in the number of embassy staff.

Russia also included Czechia and the USA in mid-May on its newly created “unfriendly countries” list. In an interview last week, Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek (CSSD) said that withdrawing the Czech Republic from the list would be one of the important preconditions for resuming serious political dialogue.