Russia rejects Czech appeal for damages over deadly 2014 ammunition depot blasts

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By Euronews  with AFP
Two people were killed in the explosions in 2014.
Two people were killed in the explosions in 2014.   -  Copyright  Policie České republiky - FILE

Russia said it had rejected a request from the Czech Republic for financial compensation for deadly explosions at an ammunition depot in 2014.

Prague has blamed Russia for the blasts, which killed two people and destroyed the depot near the village of Vrbetice.

On Monday, the Czech foreign ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to discuss the issue of compensation for the explosions.

But Russia has retaliated and says it also plans to summon the Czech ambassador to Moscow, in the latest episode in tensions between the two countries.

The Czech authorities "have put forward absurd demands for compensation from Russia for the damage", Russian diplomatic spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Thursday.

Zakharova described Prague's proposal "to discuss its claims" for compensation as "unacceptable".

She added that the head of the Czech diplomatic mission in Moscow, Vitezslav Pivonka, would be summoned "soon".

In April, the Czech Prime Minister said they had "irrefutable evidence" that two Russian GRU agents were behind the depot explosion. Russia has denied any involvement.

The officers suspected by Prague have also been accused of the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in 2018.

Following the initial accusations, the two countries expelled dozens of diplomats and other embassy staff from each other's embassies.

Russia also classified the Czech Republic as an "unfriendly country" in May.

On Monday, Czech authorities said they had invited Moscow to enter into negotiations over the 2014 blast.

Prague has said it would be seeking "full reparation for the injury caused by this internationally wrongful act".