Protests Outside Russian Embassy Over Russia’s Role In Vrbětice Explosion
Overnight on Saturday in Prague, seven people smeared the wall of the Russian Embassy with ketchup, to commemorate the two victims of the explosion in Vrbětice in 2014. On Sunday afternoon, over a hundred supporters of the Million Moments For Democracy movement gathered in front of the embassy. Photo Credit: Adam Hanka.
Czech Rep., Apr 19 (BD) – On Saturday night in Prague, seven people smeared the wall of the Russian Embassy with ketchup, symbolizing the blood of the two victims of the explosion in Vrbětice. In 2014, two munitions depots near Vrbětice in the Zlín region were blown up, on October 16th and December 3rd. Two men were killed in the first explosion, and the second, in December, required the evacuation of almost 2,000 people from surrounding villages.
Yesterday afternoon, over a hundred supporters of the Million Moments For Democracy Movement gathered in front of the Russian Embassy to condemn the involvement of Russian agents in the explosions in Vrbětice.
Photo: Participants of the protest gathered in front of the Russian Embassy in Prague. Credit: Adam Hanka.
Protesters carried banners with slogans including “Zeman is a traitor”, “Putin is a murderer. Nothing changes”, and “You have to pay for fireworks”. Many carried flags of the European Union and the Czech Republic. Police intervened at the scene with some protesters who were not wearing face-masks.
On Saturday evening, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) and Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček (ČSSD), also the Interior and acting Foreign Minister, announced that Czech intelligence agencies had reasonable suspicion that members of the Russian secret service were involved in the explosion in Vrbětice in 2014. The Czech Republic responded by expelling 18 employees of the Russian Embassy in Prague, who were identified as members of the Russian intelligence services.
Moscow has announced retaliatory measures against the Czech Republic’s decision, expelling 20 employees of the Czech Embassy in Moscow, including 16 diplomats.
Today, Hamáček will discuss the Vrbětice explosion at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers. He has also instructed the Czech ambassadors to the EU and NATO to inform the Czech Republic’s allies in both organizations about the case.