A group of 27 senators, including Senate speaker Milan Štěch, has said
the government should categorically reject a recent Russian claim that the
nerve agent believed to have been used on a former Russian double agent and
his daughter in the UK could have come from the Czech Republic.
Russia’s foreign ministry at the weekend named the Czech Republic along
with Slovakia, Britain, Sweden, and the United States as possible sources
of the nerve agent used in the attack.
Two Czech government ministers at the weekend refuted the claim, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Martin Stropnický saying the Russian accusation was an example of how information could be manipulated. The government is to discuss the issue on Wednesday.
President Putin’s re-election for a fourth term in office has evoked mixed reactions in the Czech Republic, reflecting the different perceptions of Russia today. President Zeman, who is seen as a strong supporter of President Putin, presents Russia as a promising business partner, but many politicians and ordinary people in this country still see Russia as a threat. So is Russia under Putin a partner or a threat – that’s a question I put to Petr Kratochvíl, head of the Prague-based Institute of International Relations.
Czech foreign minister Martin Stropnický has refuted Russian claims that
the nerve agent believed to have been responsible for injuries to a former
double agent and his daughter in Britain could have come from the Czech
Russia’s foreign ministry named the Czech Republic along with Slovakia, Britain, Sweden, and the United States as possible sources of the nerve agent used in the attack.
Stropnický said the Russian accusation was an example of how information could be manipulated.
Czech defence minister Karla Šlechtová also hit back at the Russian claims pointing out that Prague was a long time signatory of international conventions banning the use of such nerves gases.
Britain has said Russia is probably responsible for the attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter that took place in Salisbury around two weeks ago.
Alleged Russian hacker Yevgeny Nikulin, whose extradition is being sought
by both the United States and Russia, does not have the right to asylum in
the Czech Republic on humanitarian grounds, Prague’s Municipal Court
ruled on Friday.
The decision is binding and Mr Nikulin could challenge it only by filing a cassation complaint with the Supreme Administrative Court.
Judge Dana Černá said the court had deemed the “only reason” Mr Nikulin had filed for asylum was to avoid extradition. In the US he is suspected of hacking computers at Silicon Valley firms including LinkedIn and Dropbox, while the Russian authorities have charged him with Internet theft. He was arrested in Prague in 2016.
British Brexit Minister David Davis held talks with top officials in Prague on Monday to discuss the future of Czech-British relations post-Brexit. The meetings, which took place ahead of an EU summit in Brussels next week, were inevitably overshadowed by the diplomatic row between London and Moscow on the use of what is believed to be a Russian-made deadly nerve gas in Britain.
One of the most controversial pieces of energy infrastructure in Europe, a new gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany, appears to be making progress in the Czech Republic. Prague has been in an awkward diplomatic spot over the proposed pipeline which is supported by Germany but vigorously opposed by Poland, Slovakia, and Baltic States.
A Czech court on Tuesday ordered the release of Syrian Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim, sparking a diplomatic row with Ankara which considers him a member of a terrorist organization and is seeking his extradition to Turkey. The former head of PYD, the leading political force in Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria, is now free to leave the country.
The Czech Republic has found itself in a diplomatic tug-of-war between Turkey and the main Syrian Kurdish political party PYD following the arrest of former PYD leader Saleh Muslim in Prague. Muslim was detained at the weekend on an Interpol warrant at Turkey’s behest. Turkey has requested his extradition, while the PYD has appealed for his release.
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