Russia announced the expulsion of 20 Czech diplomats a day after Prague’s “unprecedented” decision to expel 18 Russian diplomats identified as secret agents, writes France24.
Moscow said 20 employees of the Czech embassy had been declared “persona non grata” and must leave the country by the end of Monday, April 19.
The expulsions were unveiled after the Czech ambassador in Moscow, Vitezslav Pivonka, had been summoned by the Russian foreign ministry.
“Pivonka had been told that 20 employees of the Czech embassy in Moscow had been declared persona non grata”, - the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“They have been ordered to leave our country by the end of April 19, 2021”, - the ministry added, calling the Czech government’s decision to expel Russian diplomats a “hostile act”.
On Saturday, Czech authorities said they would expel 18 Russian diplomats identified by local intelligence as secret agents of the Russian SVR and GRU security services that are suspected of involvement in a 2014 explosion.