Explosion in Czech Ammunition Depot Which Triggered Tensions with Russia - Planned for Bulgaria
The Czech Republic called on EU and NATO allies to expel Russian diplomats, as Prague's diplomatic relations with Moscow continued to deteriorate.
Prague identified the intelligence officers, and demanded they leave the country over links to an explosion at a privately-operated arms depot in 2014.
Moscow has denied any involvement in the blast that killed two people, and has since retaliated by expelling 20 Czech officials from Moscow.
The investigative site Respekt claims that Bulgarian Arms Manufacturer and Dealer Emiliyan Gebrev intended to deliver the Czech ammunition to Ukraine.
According to the Czech portal listzpravy.cz, the delivery may have been intended for rebel groups in Syria. According to a Czech Radio interlocutor, before the explosion, Gebrev had paid for the ammunition and had even started transporting it.
Czech Prime Minister Babis also said the ammunition had already been paid for. And Czech Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamacek said the original plan was for the ammunition to be detonated only after it was transported to Bulgaria.
Heavy explosions at an ammunition depot in Vrbetice in 2014 killed two people. Czech Prime Minister Babis has now announced "reasonable suspicion" that Russian military intelligence agents were involved in the incident, calling the fact "unprecedented and scandalous."
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