Czech police announce manhunt for two Russian nationals matching Skripal-poisoners’ description

Ross Houston
April 18, 2021

"There is a reasonable suspicion that Russian secret agents of the GRU service were involved in the 2014 explosions of an ammunition dump in the Czech village of Vrbětice", he said. It was followed months later by another big blast at a nearby warehouse with 98 tonnes of ammunition.

These "unprecedented findings" point to the involvement of Russian military agents in the explosion that killed "two innocent fathers", Babis said.

In a Saturday evening press conference, Mr Babis said the 18 diplomats who had been identified as working for Russia's intelligence services would have 48 hours to leave the country. "October 2014" when the Vrbetice blast occurred, the NCOZ said, adding that the two men also used Tajik and Moldovan identities.

"We have good reason to suspect the involvement of GRU officers from unit 29155 in the explosion at the ammunition warehouse in Vrbetice" in the east of the country, Babis said.

Hamacek, who is the interior minister and also an interim foreign minister after his predecessor was sacked earlier this week, said he was sorry the incident would "fundamentally damage Czech-Russian relations".

Relations between Russia and the Czech Republic soured previous year, after the Czech magazine Respekt reported in April that a Russian diplomat had brought ricin, a deadly poison, into the country allegedly to kill Czech politicians involved in the dismantling of a statue to a Soviet war hero in Prague.

"The two men were present on Czech territory in".

Earlier today, two Russian warships transited the Bosphorus en route to the Black Sea on Saturday and 15 smaller vessels completed a transfer to the sea as Moscow had beefed up its naval presence at a time of tense relations with the West and Ukraine.

Babis said the move to banish the officials was based on "unequivocal evidence" provided by the country's intelligence and security services.

The Czech Republic "has apparently chose to close its embassy in Moscow" by expelling 18 Russian diplomats, the Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed diplomatic source as saying on Saturday.

Moscow's response to the expulsion of 18 diplomats should be proportionate, Dzhabarov said on Saturday.

While Russia routinely shrugs off espionage allegations as part of an "anti-Russian campaign" orchestrated by the United States or Britain, analysts say that covert Russian activities in Europe have hit a new post-Cold War peak.

Other reports by iNewsToday