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People's Daily Online

Moscow sees U.S. influence behind Czech expulsion of Russian diplomats

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 10:34, April 19, 2021

MOSCOW, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Russia says U.S. influence is evident in the Czech Republic's decision to expel 18 Russian diplomats from Prague.

Czech authorities took the step to please the United States following recent American sanctions on Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Sunday in a statement.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said Saturday that the country was expelling 18 staffers from the Russian embassy in Prague for the alleged involvement of the Russian special services in two ammunition depot explosions in 2014.

The Russian Foreign Ministry criticized Prague for using "unfounded and far-fetched pretexts" in order to continue its anti-Russian tirade in recent years.

"We express our strong protest to the Czech authorities. We will take retaliatory measures that will make the masterminds of this provocation realize their full responsibility for destroying the foundations of normal development of bilateral relations," the statement read.

The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions against Russia and expelled 10 diplomats citing Moscow's alleged election interference and cyber activities.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday announced a series of retaliatory measures, including entry bans and the expulsion of diplomats, in response to recent "hostile actions" by the United States.

Russia will ask 10 U.S. diplomats to leave the country, the ministry said.

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