Czech President Doubts Depot Explosion Accusations amid Worsening Russia Ties

Czech President Milos Zeman has expressed doubt that Russia was responsible for a deadly explosion at the Vrbetice ammunition depot in 2014 after both countries started expelling diplomats last week.

Zeman said there are two theories about what caused the 2014 arms depot blast which was pinned on Russia by the Czech counter-intelligence agency (BIS).

The first assumption was that Russian intelligence agents were behind the explosion while the second theory was that it was caused by improper handling of live munitions. 

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on April 17 that the BIS had provided “unequivocal evidence” that there was Russian involvement but did not give further details. 

Zeman explained that the BIS has no direct evidence that two Russian GRU agents were actually present in the Vrbetice arms depot during the time of the explosion and that more investigation is needed.

“I take both lines [of investigation] seriously and I wish that they are thoroughly investigated. However, it does not mean that the suspicion of their involvement is not serious,” added Zeman. 

Zeman said that if Russia was indeed involved in the explosion, the Russian company Rosatom would not be considered in a bid to construct a new nuclear plant. 

Russia still maintained that it had no involvement in the blast and has already expelled  20 employees at the Czech Embassy in Moscow after 18 Russian diplomats were expelled from Prague. 

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