London: Britain said Sunday that it “stands in full support of our Czech allies” after Prague expelled 18 Russian diplomats identified as secret agents of the Russian intelligence services suspected of involvement in a 2014 explosion.
Czech police investigating the blast said they were looking for two men with Russian passports that had also been used by the suspects in the 2018 poisoning attempt on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in Britain.
“The UK stands in full support of our Czech allies, who have exposed the lengths that the Russian intelligence services will go to in their attempts to conduct dangerous and malign operations in Europe,” said British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in a statement.
“This shows a pattern of behaviour by Moscow, following the Novichok attack in Salisbury.
“We are as determined and committed as ever to bring those responsible for the attack in Salisbury to justice, and commend the actions of the Czech authorities to do the same.”
He called on Russia to “desist from these actions, which violate the most basic international norms.”
Britain on Thursday said it had summoned Russian ambassador in the UK Andrei Kelin to express its deep concern at what it called Moscow’s “pattern of malign activity”.
Kelin on Sunday told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that he “hadn’t seen Secretary Raab for more than a year.
“When I have come here a year and some months ago, I was full of aspirations that we can do better but in recent year our relations has become worse.”
He also said Moscow was “analysing” US President Joe Biden’s proposition for a summit to ease growing tensions on Russia’s border with Ukraine.
“There is no decision about the summit on our side, we will be analysing a situation, waiting for what’s going to happen,” he said, adding “I don’t think” the situation was close to war.
“We are fully committed to an idea of the Minsk agreements,” he said.