Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday it would take tough retaliatory measures against the Czech Republic over Prague’s expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats on what Moscow said were unfounded and absurd grounds.
The Czech Republic expelled 18 Russian embassy staff on Saturday over the suspected involvement of Russia’s intelligence services in a 2014 ammunition depot explosion that killed two people.
“We will take retaliatory measures that will force the authors of this provocation to fully understand their responsibility for destroying the foundation of normal ties between our countries,” the ministry said in a statement.
“The Czech Republic took the Russophobe line of the US by expelling Russian diplomats. This step was completely unfounded and had no relation to the 2014 events,” said the Head of the Russian State Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky.
“Prague is well aware what follows such ‘tricks’,” added Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
French and British Support
Speaking about the latest developments in the Czech Republic, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “The UK stands in full support of our Czech allies, who have exposed the lengths that the Russian intelligence services will go to in their attempts to conduct dangerous and malign operations in Europe.
“We are as determined and committed as ever to bring those responsible for the attack in Salisbury to justice, and commend the actions of the Czech authorities to do the same.
“We have to define clear red lines with Russia,” Macron said, according to a video excerpt of the interview to be aired later on Sunday.
“This is the only way to be credible. Sanctions are not sufficient in themselves but sanctions are part of the package,” he said, adding that he also agreed with U.S. President Joe Biden’s willingness to open a dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a time of festering tensions.