Russia rejects possibility of paying Czech Republic compensation for Vrbetica explosions
Russia will not pay any compensation to the Czech Republic for alleged involvement in the explosions at warehouses in Vrbetice, Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs, told TASS .
"Any demands by the Czech Republic for compensation for the far-fetched involvement of the Russian special services in the explosions at warehouses in Vrbetice are absurd," he said.
According to Slutsky, Prague should forward such demands to its "Washington bosses who are behind this provocation."
Slutsky's statements were repeated almost verbatim by Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs. “The Russian side is not going to pay anything to Prague, this demand is absurd,” he told RIA Novosti.
On Saturday, Czech Finance Minister Alena Schillerova announced plans to demand at least 1 billion kronor (48 million euros) from the Kremlin as damages for the 2014 explosions, which killed two citizens of the country.
"The most viable way, that seems optimal, is the compensation under international law, because if we go, for example, with criminal proceedings, it will take a very long time," Schillerova said in an interview with Česká televize.
On April 17, the Czech authorities announced the involvement of Russian military intelligence in the explosions at an ammunition depot in Vrbetica , and a day later Prague expelled 18 Russian diplomats.
Moscow responded by expelling 20 employees of the Czech Embassy. Prague, in turn, announced a four-fold reduction to the number of employees of the Russian diplomatic mission in Prague.
Thirty-five diplomats and 46 administrative and technical staff were declared persona non grata. Russia responded by expelling 20 diplomats and administrative staff and demanded the dismissal of 91 Russians from the embassy.