Prague expelled 18 Russian diplomats on suspicion that they were intelligence officers.
The U.S. said Sunday it supported the Czech Republic after it expelled Russian diplomats and accused Moscow of involvement in an explosion at a munitions depot in the town of Vrbetica.
“The U.S. supports the Czech Republic in its firm response to Russia’s subversive actions on Czech soil,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Twitter. – “We must act decisively in response to Russian actions that threaten the territorial integrity, energy security, or critical infrastructure of our allies and partners.
The Czech Republic announced Saturday the expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats suspected by local intelligence agencies of being secret agents of the Foreign Intelligence Service and the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces (GRU).
Russia’s foreign ministry responded that the expulsion of Russian diplomats was, as the Russian Foreign Ministry put it, a continuation of a series of anti-Russian actions Czech Republic has carried out in recent years.
Moscow announced the expulsion of 20 Czech diplomats.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Foreign Minister Jan Hamacek said Czech intelligence suspects Russian special services were involved in the Oct. 16, 2014 explosion at an army depot in Vrbetice that killed two people.
The Czech police and the National Center for Combating Organized Crime of the Criminal Police and Investigation Service began searching for two men suspected of involvement in serious crimes in the republic. Czech authorities believe that the same two men accused by British authorities of trying to poison Sergei Skripal with the Novichok nerve agent were involved in the crimes.