The Agency came to the conclusion that the whole thing was “simple and sad story about the hostility and envy between the two employees of the Russian Embassy in Prague”
Photo: ŠJů / commons.wikimedia.org
The residence security and information of the Czech Republic
Photo: Miaow Miaow / commons.wikimedia.org
Security and information Czech Republic (SBI, counterintelligence) closed the case about the threat of ricin poisoning three municipal officials – the mayor of Prague Zdenek Griba, head of the administration of Prague 6 and ondřej Kolář mayor of the district of Prague-Reporyje Pavel Novotny. The Agency came to the conclusion that the whole thing was “simple and sad story about the hostility and envy between the two employees of the Russian Embassy in Prague”.
According to intelligence, one of the Russians decided to hurt his counterpart, sending BIS an anonymous letter with a detailed description of the perceived threat of the Prague officials. The information was quickly verified, most of the information was “truthful and accurate”, according to the website of SBI. The Department explained that I could not ignore the letter, because, “unfortunately, in the Arsenal of the Russian special services even includes murder.”
The subsequent leak of information on possible preparation of attempt “has significantly complicated the work of the SBI and police and made it virtually impossible the investigation of the case”, said in counterintelligence. However, in a short time “and under the pressure of constant media speculation” the security service were able to uncover and document what happened at the Russian Embassy, who was behind an anonymous message and what was the purpose, stated in the press release.
As a result, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Andrew Babish and foreign Minister Tomas Peter decided to expel and to declare persona non grata two employees of the Russian Embassy. In SBI said that before this decision, the two Russians were given the opportunity to leave the Czech Republic “calm and quiet”, but they missed it and not only tried to calm the situation, “quite the contrary”.
In the SBI agreed that the whole story is so absurd that it is hard to believe, but assured that he had received “absolutely conclusive evidence”. To disclose them to the public security service, as “it tools, procedures, sources of information and especially the information itself is secret”. The Ministry noted that to obtain secret information and make decisions based on it authorized the President, the Prime Minister, the government and the police of the Czech Republic.
“It is obvious that the decision to declare diplomats persona non-grata is absolutely extreme and exceptional. Prime Minister and Minister of foreign Affairs, of course, would not go to this step if they were not absolutely clear and conclusive evidence on the table,” – stated in SBI.
Expelled from the Czech Republic, the Russians – officials of Rossotrudnichestvo (the Federal Agency for CIS Affairs, compatriots living abroad and international humanitarian cooperation). The Czech party did not call their names. The Deputy head of Rossotrudnichestvo Mikhail Bryukhanov reported RIA “news” that is the acting head of Rossotrudnichestvo representative office in Prague Andrew Konchakov and an employee representative by the name of Fishermen. Later it became known that we are talking about the acting Director of the Russian centre of science and culture Igor Rybakova.
According to Bryukhanov, Konchakov “a very educated, intelligent man, kept a huge amount of humanitarian projects, enjoys a great reputation among our countrymen and scientists -specialists in Russian Philology”. “Strong loss, a very good employee who knew well the Czech language”, – said the Agency interlocutor. As he wrote to the Czech media, it Kondakov was allegedly thereby “rezinovy diplomat.”
In early April the Czech newspaper Respekt, citing sources in law enforcement agencies reported that in Prague from Russia there arrived a man with a Russian diplomatic passport, which could bring the poison ricin to poison the mayor of Prague Zdenek Griba, head of the administration of Prague 6 and ondřej Kolář mayor of the district of Prague-Reporyje Pavel Novotny.
Grib in late February was one of the initiators of the decision to rename the square in front of the Russian Embassy in honor of slain Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. Kolář was one of the main initiators of the Prague dismantling of the monument to Soviet Marshal Konev. And the Council of the Prague-Reporyje in December 2019 approved the installation of a monument to Vlasov. All these officials were placed under state protection.
The poison ricin toxicity is comparable with chemical warfare substances, but initial signs of poisoning them like COVID-19, influenza or SARS. Got poisoned there is a fever, weakness, muscle pain and severe itching, fever, and sometimes nausea and diarrhea. After a few days the victim dies a painful death due to severe lesions of the liver and pancreas, extensive hemorrhages in the stomach and intestines, toxic degeneration of the kidney.
The Russian Embassy in the Czech Republic has categorically denied the information on preparation of attempt at the Prague officials, stating that since mid-March, 2020, none of the diplomatic staff of the Russian Embassy in the Czech Republic arrives in Prague airport. The representative of the Russian foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova called information the Czech media a fake and just another irritant in bilateral relations.
The expulsion of Russian diplomats from Czech Republic Zakharova called “unfriendly, indecent behavior,” and said that Moscow was preparing a response, and that all happened “will be taken into account in the further development of relations.”
Czech President Milos Zeman, known for his Pro-Russian stance, questioned the veracity of the information about the ricin, and in one interview said that it is just a laxative. Later the President said that Zeman has mixed up the poison with castor oil, as in the Czech language, they have similar names.
The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Andrew Babish at a press conference on June 12 said that the report on the Russian special services of attempt at the Prague officials have been misinformation, the blame for the spread of which are employees of the Russian Embassy in Prague. The reason for the misinformation, the Prime Minister called an inner struggle between the Embassy staff. Babish said that this history has undermined Russia’s reputation in the Czech society and made it difficult for Czech-Russian relations. According to him, the Russian side refused to resolve the issue quietly, through diplomatic channels, so Prague had to declare two Russians persona non grata.