US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic expressed its disagreement with the note of the Russian embassy, which complained about the article in the Respect. Czech diplomats consider the Russian note an unreasonable attempt to restrict freedom of the press, as stated by the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Zuzana Shtikhova.
Great Britain, Germany and Bulgaria – these three countries of the European Union have already faced the killings or assassinations committed by Russian GRU military intelligence agents there. According to Respect’s information, an employee of this special service arrived in Prague in early April with a suitcase containing deadly ricin poison.
The history of Prague differs from all previous ones by several points. Firstly, neither murder nor attempt has yet been committed. Moreover, as Dennik N reported, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chechen Republic made it clear to the Russian embassy that it knew about Russia’s intentions, and if something happened to one of the three municipal politicians, the consequences would not be long in coming. Prague Mayor Zdenek Grzyb, the head of the district of Prague 6 Ondřej Kolář and the head of the district of Rzhepory Pavel Novotny are now under police protection.
They kill in countries that want friendships with Russia
Another fundamental difference is for the purposes of Russian aggression. “It seems that for the first time we were in danger. If the Russians did all this, then before their actions were directed against the secret services. People who have nothing to do with (and never had) the Russian Federation are at risk here, ”noted Mikhail Romantsov, a political scientist who specializes in Russia and works at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University, in an interview with Seznaya Pravda.
Among the countries where the GRU has already committed murder in the past, Romantsov calls Britain and Germany. “These countries have long wanted to establish as friendly relations with Russia as possible. In both cases, it turned out that on their territory Russian agents eliminated people whom they considered to be potentially dangerous or unfriendly towards the Russian Federation and its interests.”
The murder of Alexander Litvinenko and an attempt to remove Sergei Skripal and his daughter provoked an international scandal. After the attempt on Skripal, 29 countries of the world sent Russian diplomats, and a total of 146 people left their missions.
In Berlin, the same person was killed as in Moscow
But Germany, where Spiegel reports, reacted rather sluggishly to the last of a series of similar cases, where the murder was committed. Last summer, a 40-year-old Georgian citizen Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, who had previously fought against the Russians in Chechnya, was killed in Berlin. In August, in a park in the city center, he was shot dead with two shots by a man who arrived at the scene of a murder on a bicycle.
The Spiegel publication, together with the Bellingcat investigation server and the Insider server in Russia, established that he was the same person who killed the Russian businessman Albert Nazarov in Moscow in 2013. Other indirect evidence indicated his connection with the GRU’s Russian intelligence service.
However, the German government took a long time to respond. Russia refuted its responsibility for the death of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili (as always in such cases), and the Germans delayed with the argument that the killer could have obtained false documents in the name of Vadim Sokolov through a bribe. But last December, the German federal prosecutor took up the matter, and the government of Angela Merkel tightened her stance. The charge d’affaires of the embassy of the Russian Federation was called and reported that two employees of the defense department of the embassy were expelled from Germany. Both German intelligence services were recognized as agents of the GRU.
The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained this step by the insufficient assistance of the Russian authorities. The deportation of diplomats, according to the Germans, is a clear message to Moscow, which should encourage it to cooperate immediately in identifying the offender. Subsequently, of course, Chancellor Angela Merkel talked about this matter with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The investigation identified the killer of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, 54-year-old Vadim Krasikov, who had a Schengen visa, and previously he traveled freely throughout Europe, visited Paris, Warsaw and Berlin. According to the Bellingcat server, the Russians, apparently, repeatedly attempted the life of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, who was considered a terrorist. However, previous attempts to kill him in Ukraine and Georgia were unsuccessful.
Also, in cooperation with the Insider server in Russia, Bellingcat identified another GRU operative who was the top three who committed an assassination attempt on arms dealer Emilian Gebreva in Bulgaria and possibly participated in the assassination of Sergei Skripal in the UK. This man is a certain Igor Gordienko, who worked under diplomatic cover at the World Trade Organization in Geneva. In February 2014, this agent arrived for reasons not yet established in Prague. But he traveled much more, for example, having been to Italy and France.
What do the government and the president think? We do not know
But let’s get back to the current Prague operation of the GRU. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Respect’s information is a duck, and it was supported by the Russian embassy: “The Russian embassy in the Czech Republic categorically rejects such egregious and deceitful insinuations,” the note sent on Monday said. The Russian version of the events is undoubtedly supported by the Czech Communists, as their head, Vojtech Filip, explained in an interview to “Right to Right”.
Russia, as always, denies everything, but the reaction of the Czech leadership is more interesting here. While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at least discussed this matter with the Russian embassy, Prime Minister Andrei Babish was silent, like President Milos Zeman. On Tuesday, senators, by contrast, approved a resolution to develop a plan to expel Russian diplomats (and agents).
“The reaction of the Czech side, unfortunately, is ambiguous,” political analyst Romantsov estimates the position of Prague. A positive moment in the Czech reaction, he considers the position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chechen Republic, which made Russia understand that it does not want it to behave in the Czech Republic in this way.
“The second line, which is also traced in Russian sources, is the desire to accept not the proposal, but the demand of the Russian side to transfer the monument to Konev at its disposal. Despite the fact that from the very beginning our side clearly stated that it was the property of Prague 6, and it had the right to dispose of it, all of a sudden they meet the Russian side, although it acted by no means diplomatically, ”Romantsov emphasizes. He also notes that, in addition to the chronological sequence of the events described above, the position of the Czech government also remains unknown.
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