19.04.2021 | Putin expels 20 Czech diplomats as hunt for Russian Skripal agents announced
Source - The Daily Express
The diplomats must now leave by the end of April 19, Russia announced today. It is understood just five will remain on staff at the Russian embassy in Prague, the Russian TASS news agency reports.
The move from the Kremlin comes after the Czech Republic announced on Saturday it will expel 18 Russian diplomats from the country.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday vowed to "force the authors of this provocation to fully understand their responsibility for destroying the foundation of normal ties between our countries".
The breakdown in relations was triggered after Prague claimed two Russian agents accused of a nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury in 2018, were behind an explosion at a Czech ammunition dump four years earlier, which killed two people.
Czech police said on Saturday they were searching for two men in connection with serious criminal activity carrying Russian passports in the names of Alexander Petrov, 41, and Ruslan Boshirov, 43.
The force said they had visited the country in 2014 and stayed from October 11-16.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said there was "well-grounded suspicion" about the involvement of officers of the Russian intelligence service GRU in the depot explosion.
Petrov and Boshirov were accused of poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Wiltshire, in 2018.