“Russian President Vladimir Putin is impudent because he knows that the structures responsible for EU foreign policy prefer not to react to the actions of the Russian GRU intelligence in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria,” MEP from the Law and Justice (PiS) – senior party in Poland’s ruling coalition, Ryszard Legutko, said on Monday. He referred to the expulsion of eighteen employees of the Russian embassy in Prague, who had been identified as officers of the Russian intelligence services.
“He knows it ends with ranting only. The structures [Of the EU] responsible for diplomacy and foreign policy prefer not to react,” Mr Legutko stressed.
Last week, the Czech media, citing Radio Free Europe and the investigative portal Bellingcat, reported that agents of the Russian secret services operated in Bulgaria between 2014-2015 and were present in the country during the explosions of six local weapons warehouses that were similar to those in Czech Vrbětice in 2014, where two people were killed.
On April 17, Czech authorities announced the expulsion of eighteen employees of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Prague, who had been identified as officers of the Russian special services.
The decision was related to Czech services having earlier obtained evidence that justified the suspicion of involvement of Russian military intelligence officers in the explosion of ammunition warehouses at the Vrbětice complex in 2014.
In retaliation, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs recognised 20 employees of the Embassy of the Czech Republic as personae non gratae.
Solidarity and support for the actions undertaken by the Czech Republic have been expressed, inter alia, by NATO.
Despite the recent Russian provocations on the border with Ukraine and the situation of the imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas spoke out against the tightening of sanctions against Russia.
“It is precisely because of the current tensions that dialogue with Moscow should be pursued,” Mr Maas told the German Public Broadcaster ARD on Sunday.
“The whole world says that Russia’s relations… with both Germany and the European Union have hit rock bottom right now”, he said, adding that “they shouldn’t stay that way.”