Czech Republic demands compensation from Russia for ammunition warehouse explosions

The Czech Republic demanded that Russia pay compensation for damages caused by explosions at ammunition depots in Vrbetice in 2014, reported the Czech Foreign Ministry.

Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic Martin Smolek gave the Russian Ambassador to Prague, Aleksandr Zmeyevsky, a note, which speaks about the international responsibility of the Russian Federation and the demand to fully compensate for the damage caused by the explosions in Vrbetica.

According to the news outlet Idnes.cz, the Czech authorities estimated the damage at 650 million kronor (about 25.5 million euros).

The Russian Foreign Ministry called the Czech Republic's claim for compensation extortion.

"I want to remind you. Usually, when someone acts in this way, without trial, with threats and insults, demanding money, they are called extortionists," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel.

In April, the Czech Republic expelled 18 employees of the Russian Embassy in Prague and issued international arrest warrants for Russian Military Intelligence Directorate (GRU) employees, Petrov and Boshirov, because of their alleged involvement in the bombings at military warehouses in Vrbetice in 2014.

Earlier, Czech President Milos Zeman claimed that the reason for the explosions at the warehouses could have been an attempt to hide embezzlement at the warehouse.

The publication Denik N reported that for 10 days Zeman ignored the report of the Czech special services about the involvement of the GRU in the explosions in Vrbetice.

On April 17, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and the country's Interior Minister, Jan Hamáček, said that the Czech government had evidence of Russian intelligence involvement in the explosion at an ammunition depot in Vrbetice.

The Czech police have put two Russian citizens, including Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov on an international wanted list. Petrov and Boshirov are also suspected of poisoning Sergey and Yulia Skripal in the UK. According to the police and the National Centre for Combating Organized Crime, the men were in the Czech Republic between October 11 and October 16, 2014.

On April 17, Prague announced that it was expelling 18 Russian diplomats and intended to "bring to justice" the perpetrators of the incident, which resulted in human casualties. In response, the Russian Foreign Ministry declared 20 employees of the Czech Embassy persona non grata and demanded that they leave Moscow within 24 hours.

Earlier, the Czech government excluded the Russian Nuclear Agency, Rosatom, from the tender for the construction of a new power unit of the Dukovany nuclear power plant for $6 billion.

  Czech Republic, Russia

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