Prague demands Russia cut number of diplomats to match that of Czech staff in Moscow
The Czech Republic has demanded that Russia reduce the number of diplomats at its embassy in Prague to match the number of Czech employees at the embassy in Moscow, Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek told reporters on Thursday.
"We will cut the number of diplomats at the Russian embassy in Prague to match the number of our staff at the embassy in Moscow. The decision took effect today. Russia has been given time until the end of May to recall their staff," he said, commenting on Moscow’s move to declare 20 employees of the Czech embassy personae non-gratae in response to the expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats from Prague.
According to the Czech Foreign Ministry, there are currently 27 diplomats and 67 technical staff at the Russian embassy in Prague, as well as five diplomats and 19 technical employees at the Czech embassy in Moscow.
The Czech government earlier pointed out that the embassy staff in Moscow was far smaller than that at the Russian embassy in Prague.
Prague claims that Moscow was involved in the 2014 ammunition depot blast in the eastern Czech village of Vrbetice.
On April 17, the Czech authorities announced the expulsion of 18 employees of the Russian embassy in Prague, who, according to the Czech authorities, are "officers of Russia’s SVR and GRU intelligence agencies." The Russian Foreign Ministry strongly protested against the move.