Bratislava, April 22 (TASR) – Slovakia will expel three Russian diplomats in response to an explosion in a Czech ammunition warehouse seven years ago with the alleged involvement of Russia, as stated by the Czech Government last week, Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OLANO) announced on Thursday.
The Russians were asked to leave Slovakia within seven days.
“Slovakia confirms its interest in building relations based on mutual respect with the Russian Federation. At the same time we expect that representatives of the Russian diplomatic mission will also contribute to this and that they’ll respect the principles of conduct based on the relevant international conventions,” stated the Slovak prime minister in the company of Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok (an SaS nominee) and Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad (OLANO).
The decision on expelling three Russian diplomats was preceded by a thorough review of information from the Slovak intelligence services, said Heger.
The Czech Republic at the weekend announced the expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats over the incident in Vrbetice in 2014, with Moscow responding by expelling 20 people from the Czech Embassy. Prague on Thursday decided to reduce the number of staff at the Russian Embassy to be equal to that of the Czech Embassy.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis earlier this week stated that the explosion was designed to destroy arms in the ownership of a Bulgarian national and it wasn’t aimed against the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, he added that it’s unacceptable to see secret services performing such operations on the territory of a foreign sovereign country.