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Czechia will reduce and cap the number of Russian embassy workers


The Russian Federation did not respond to the Czech request to return staff to the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Moscow. Therefore, pursuant to Art. 11 of the Vienna Convention, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided to reduce and cap the number of staff at the Russian Embassy in Prague at the current number of our staff in Moscow. The Russian embassy workers must leave the Czech Republic by 31 May 2021.

"The Czech Republic is a sovereign and confident state," Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced at a press conference about the ongoing diplomatic situation. "This is not a situation that we are happy about. We are not talking about escalation. We are interested in fair relations with the Russian Federation, and we hoped that Russia would recognise the disproportionate response, but it did not. That is why we have decided to respond appropriately."

"As of noon today, the Russian Federation has not responded," said Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek. "We therefore decided to react as follows: Pursuant to Art. 11 of the Vienna Convention, we are capping the number of Russian diplomats in Prague at the current number of our staff in Moscow. This decision is applicable from today and Russia has until the end of May to withdraw its people."

"This decision is not directed against ordinary Russians who study or work in our country," he added.

Art. 11 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations provides that "In the absence of specific agreement as to the size of the mission, the receiving State may require that the size of a mission be kept within limits considered by it to be reasonable and normal, having regard to circumstances and conditions in the receiving State and to the needs of the particular mission."

Following the discovery by the Czech intelligence service that Russian agents from a special unit were involved in the explosion of an ammunitions warehouse in Vrbětice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expelled 18 members of the Russian secret service who were employed at the Prague embassy. In retaliation, Russia then identified as undesirable 20 employees of the Czech Embassy in Moscow. Two people died in the Vrbětice explosion in 2014.

"We were able to show what really happened and, as a result, to break up two Russian secret service stations," Interior Minister Jan Hamáček added. "I want to assure everyone that in the last few days we have always had in mind their safety above all."