Statue of Marshal Konev in March 2020. via Raymond Johnston

Russia asks Czech Republic for police protection for diplomat accused in poisoning case

The Russian Embassy in Prague has asked for police protection for a diplomat who now faces threats over the recent scandal

Prague, May 11 (CTK) – The Russian Embassy in Prague has turned to the Czech Foreign Ministry for police protection for a diplomat who now faces threats due to a false accusation of a planned attack on Prague politicians, it has written on Facebook.

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The embassy wrote that it has asked the Czech side to provide police protection and take measures to prevent attacks on the Russian diplomat.

In accordance with the Article 29 of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations from 1961, the embassy has turned to the Czech Foreign Ministry with a request to take all adequate measures to prevent any attack against the person, freedom, and dignity of its employee, the embassy wrote.

Due to the hunt on him, triggered by the Czech media, the diplomat has faced threats, the embassy wrote, adding that it felt forced to turn to the Czech side over the police protection for its employee.

The Czech Foreign Ministry has not officially obtained the embassy’s request, which is why it would not comment on it for the moment, its spokeswoman Zuzana Štíchová told CTK.

The Czech weekly Respekt recently wrote about a Russian secret service officer who allegedly arrived in Prague with the poison ricin. Moscow dismissed this as a media hoax, but the arrival of the diplomat has been confirmed by Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats, CSSD), who, nevertheless, would not comment on whether the diplomat had poison on him.

Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates), Prague 6 District Mayor Ondřej Kolář (TOP 09) and Prague-Reporyje Mayor Pavel Novotný (Civic Democrats, ODS) are currently under police protection.

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According to server Lidovky.cz, the Czech counter-intelligence service BIS has filed a criminal complaint about a leak of secret information about the Russian intelligence agent.

The information about the arrival of a Russian officer with poison was also discussed by the Czech lower house’s security committee last week, and it agreed that the reaction of the Czech security bodies was appropriate.

“In connection with the ongoing anti-Russian information campaign in the Czech Republic, we declare that the mendacious and unfounded accusations (referring to local secret services) that the Russian Federation embassy’s employee is preparing a murder attack on Prague local politicians has been repeatedly and clearly refuted by the Russian side – both in Moscow and Prague,” the Russian embassy wrote.

Czech-Russian relations have been tense of late due to the removal of Marshal Ivan Konev’s statue from a square in Prague 6. The two sides have already agree to meet for consultations based on the Czech-Russian treaty from 1993.

Russia has also protested against the installation of a monument to General Vlasov’s Russian Liberation Army in Prague-Reporyje for their contribution to the liberation of Prague in May 1945.

The decision of Prague City Hall to rename the square where the Russia embassy is situated after the assassinated Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov has also met with the displeasure of Russia.

Czech President Miloš Zeman previously said Russian officials’ threats to launch criminal prosecution of Prague municipal politicians were an overblown reaction, but it was a reaction to the stupidity shown by “our otherwise insignificant politicians.”

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