Russia asks Czech embassy to cut employees in retaliation
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday demanded the Czech embassy in Moscow reduce the number of employees shortly after Prague made a mirror-like decision.
Earlier in the day, the Czech Foreign Ministry announced that it would reduce and put a cap on the number of employees in the Russian embassy in Prague to the same number at the Czech embassy in Moscow, and the Russian side has to withdraw its staff by the end of May.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it summoned Czech ambassador to Russia Vitezslav Pivonka and strongly protested to him against the new restrictions.
In response to "the hostile actions," the Russian ministry demanded the Czech embassy in Moscow reduce its staffers, since there is "significant disparity" in terms of the locally hired.
It remains unclear how many people from both sides will be affected this new round of diplomatic spat.
Pivonka was told that Moscow reserves the right to take further steps if the Czech Republic continues anti-Russian steps.
The Czech government has recently expelled 18 Russian embassy staffers for the alleged involvement of the Russian special services in two ammunition depot explosions in 2014.