Czech authorities have announced that two Russian nationals are linked to an arms depot explosion that occurred in 2014. The explosion resulted in the deaths of two people. 

The two, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, are believed to be members of the Russian military intelligence (GRU), and are currently linked to the 2018 Salisbury poisonings.

It is believed that the explosion in the Czech Republic is also linked to the poisoning of a Bulgarian arms dealer called Emilian Gebrev. 

Czech authorities have been led to believe that Unit 29155 of the GRU is behind the explosion.

The European intelligence agency believes that the GRU Unit 29155 is tasked with conducting destruction, subversion and assassinations. 

The Russian government has denied the allegations

The Prime Minister of the Czech republic Andrej Babis said that the country had to react to the revelations tying the blast to the GRU . 

 The Foreign Minister Jan Hameck said that the country will inform Nato and its European Union allies about those suspicions and will discuss the matter at the EU foreign ministers meeting being held on Monday. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it would “take retaliatory measures that will force the authors of this provocation to fully understand their responsibility for destroying a foundation of normal ties between our countries.”

The accusations have since led to both Russia and the Czech Republic to expel each other’s diplomats. 

While Czech authorities have given Russia till May to withdraw 63 embassy employees, the Russian government has also expelled 20 employees of the Czech embassy in Russia.

Other countries have also taken action in the wake of the revelations, with the United States, Poland and Bulgaria expelling Russian diplomats in their countries. The Russian government has acted in kind. 

On Thursday, Slovakia joined in solidarity with the Czech Republic, expelling three Russian diplomats with Prime Minister Eduard Heger saying they “must leave the country in seven days”.

The blast that occured in 16 October 2014 destroyed windows in nearby buildings, and led to the evacuation of local schools. The remains of two men were discovered after more than a month.

Image Credit: JirkaF

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