Moscow: The Russian Foreign Ministry has decided to expel 20 Czech diplomats in response to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Prague and gave the Czech diplomatic staff time until Monday to leave Russia.
“A strong protest was declared to the ambassador in connection with the unfriendly act of the Czech authorities against the personnel of the Russian diplomatic mission in Prague. Pivonka was informed that 20 employees of the Czech embassy in Moscow were declared persona non grata,” a foreign ministry statement read.
Czech Ambassador to Moscow Vitzeslav Pivonka was on Sunday summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry amid a diplomatic tussle between the two countries.
The Czech diplomatic employees are required to leave Russia before the end of Monday, the ministry said.
“The Czech side was also required to bring the number of employees of the diplomatic mission in Moscow in the category of those hired locally to parity with the number of employees of a similar category in the Russian embassy in the Czech Republic.The ambassador received the relevant note,” the statement said.
On Saturday, Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek had said that 18 Russian diplomats would be expelled from the country on suspicion of being officers of Russia’s special services