REUTERS

The Kremlin was aware that the Czech authorities had information about Russian special services' involvement in a 2014 explosion of an ammunition depot in the Vrbětice complex, so the Russian Federation launched a disinformation campaign to discredit Prague even before an official report was delivered.

This was stated by Director of the Military Intelligence of the Czech Republic Jan Beroun, the Ukrainian media outlet NV reported, citing the Czech daily newspaper Hospodářské noviny.

According to him, Russia's propaganda machine continues to work in that direction.

"We indeed see an increased activity by various pro-Russian social media platforms, disinformation and distorted interpretations of facts. This had been noticeable even before [the Czech authorities] informed the public about [the results of a probe into] this incident," he said.

First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of the Czech Republic Jan Hamáček said that the Czech special services and police had no other theories behind the explosions at the ammunition depots in Vrbětice in 2014 but the involvement of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence agency.

Read alsoGRU-orchestrated ammo depot blasts, arms dealer murder attempt all aimed to undermine Ukraine

Czech-Russian diplomatic row: Background

  • Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced there were well-founded suspicions of the involvement of Russian special services in the explosion of an ammunition storage facility in the Czech Republic in 2014.
  • The Czech Foreign Ministry expelled 18 Russian diplomats believed to be intelligence operatives in retaliation for the explosion, which killed two people.
  • The Czech police put on the wanted list two Russian citizens who used passports in the name of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov during their visit to Prague and the Zlín District on October 11-16, 2014.
  • In a retaliation move, Russia expelled 20 Czech diplomats – the move Prague protested as "inappropriate reaction," demanding that Moscow allow them to return or face tit-for-tat expulsions. Later, the Czech side said about 70 more Russian diplomats would be expelled.
  • According to Czech media outlets, an explosion at an ammunition depot in the Vrbětice complex in the Czech Republic in 2014 was most likely staged by Russian agents to disrupt arms shipments, in particular, to armed forces of Ukraine.