Prague, April 28 (CTK) – Prague 6 District Mayor Ondřej Kolář (TOP 09) is under police protection because of a Russian man tasked to liquidate him, he told Prima TV today, adding that the man also wanted to kill Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) and Prague-Řeporyje Mayor Pavel Novotný (Civic Democrats, ODS).
Kolář, Hřib and Novotný faced Russian criticism in the past weeks over the steps each of them and their respective offices have taken.
Kolář told TV Prima he signed a confidentiality agreement in which it is rather strictly defined what he can and cannot say.
Hřib and Novotný confirmed to TV Prima that they are also under police protection, without elaborating.
Kolář decided to remove the memorial to Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev from a square in his city district. In its place, a new memorial to the liberation of Prague during the Second World War is to be built.
The Prague City Hall headed by Hřib recently renamed the square where the Russian embassy is seated after Russian politician Boris Nemtsov, who criticised the regime of Vladimir Putin and was assassinated in Moscow in 2015.
Novotny plans to install a plaque commemorating soldiers of the Russian Liberation Army (ROA) who fell while assisting in the liberation of Prague in 1945. But the ROA also fought alongside the Nazis against Stalin’s Soviet Union during World War Two.
The Czech weekly Respekt wrote on Monday that a Russian secret agent arrived in Prague three weeks ago equipped with ricin and that Czech security bodies considered his arrival as a threat to Hřib and Kolář.
A Kremlin spokesman called the Respekt news a hoax. The Russian embassy in Prague sent the Czech Foreign Ministry a note saying that lash-outs at Russia and its diplomatic office in Prague are inadmissible. It labelled the Respekt article an outrageous lie and a part of a discrediting campaign in Czech media.
The Foreign Ministry today protested against the diplomatic note and considered it an inappropriate effort to violate freedom of the press. However, neither Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats, CSSD) nor his deputies plan to meet Russian ambassador Alexander Zmeyevsky over the current disputes now.
The Senate defense and security committee called on the government today to resolutely dismiss Russia’s interference in Czech affairs and activities towards Czech public officials. The cabinet should also unveil a plan restricting the Russian diplomatic staff, the committee said.