The United States and Britain said they stood in full solidarity with the Czech Republic in the dispute with Russia.
PRAGUE — The Czech Republic said on Sunday it had informed NATO and European Union allies about suspected Russian involvement in a 2014 ammunition depot explosion and the matter would be addressed at an E.U. foreign ministers’ meeting on Monday.
The central European country expelled 18 Russian embassy staff on Saturday over the issue and said investigations had linked Russian intelligence to the explosion, which killed two people.
Russia’s Interfax news agency cited Vladimir Dzhabarov, first deputy head of the Russian upper house’s international affairs committee, on Saturday as saying Prague’s assertions were absurd and Russia’s response should be proportionate.
Meanwhile, another high-profile official, Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the State Duma’s international affairs committee, said Saturday the grounds for the Czech move “do not stand up to criticism,” adding that the Czech Republic follows “the Russophobic course of the United States” by expelling Russian diplomats, Russian state news agency Tass reported.
The expulsions and allegations come at a time of heightened Russian-Western tensions and have triggered the biggest dispute between the Czechs and Russia since the 1989 end of Communist rule, when Prague was under Moscow’s domination for decades.