Wednesday, 30 September, 2020

Czech media name Russian diplomat in ‘poison plot’ row



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AFP

Image caption

Russia was angered by the removal last thirty day period of a statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev

Russia’s embassy in Prague has asked for police defense for a single of its diplomats, who has been named by Czech media amid allegations of a plot to poison Czech politicians.

It stated “phony and unfounded” allegations had been manufactured versus just one of its employees and he was now obtaining threats.

There has been no confirmation 3 Czech mayors were the aim of a plot.

But all 3 – including the Prague town mayor – obtained police safety.

Past thirty day period a Czech weekly, Respekt, alleged that a Russian agent had travelled to Prague with a suitcase made up of the hugely powerful toxin, ricin. It suggested the poison may be utilised to focus on Czech politicians who experienced angered Russia.

Who is the guy named in Czech media?

A Czech Television news programme has now alleged that the reports concerned Andrei Konchakov, head of the Russian Centre for Science and Society in Prague, and suggests he is an undeclared intelligence officer.

Devoid of naming him, the embassy stated on its Facebook webpage that a member of its personnel was the target of an “anti-Russian details campaign” and that it had been forced to apply for law enforcement safety for him. It stated the diplomat was the victim of a “slander marketing campaign” whipped up by Czech media.

Mr Konchakov advised Czech web-site Seznam Zpravy he experienced introduced “disinfectant and sweets” into the nation in his suitcase, and not ricin as had been claimed.

Various Russian media have also reported his name. According to his biography on the Prague Russian centre’s web site, he was born in 1986 and supplied his existing task in December 2017.

The head of the federal agency he operates for in Moscow dismissed the reviews as a “pure provocation”, linked to an ongoing row around the removal of a statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev in Prague.

Prague and Moscow are owing to get started talks in the coming times to check out to defuse increasing pressure in bilateral relations.

Who is Konchakov?

By Rob Cameron, BBC Prague correspondent

Is Andrei Konchakov’s go over blown? Is he even an undercover agent?

Russia denies this which, even if he was, is easy to understand. Which is the complete level of getting an undeclared intelligence agent.

Czech authorities also would not remark. But they have in the earlier complained about the supersized Russian diplomatic delegation.

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EPA

Image caption

Mr Konchakov has posted pics of the previous web-site of the Konev statue on Facebook and visited it previous month

In 2018, there were 121 Russian diplomats and support personnel in Prague, with a further 18 at the country’s consulates in Brno and Karlovy Vary. It really is 1 of the largest Russian diplomatic missions in Europe.

Exactly how several are spies using diplomatic address is identified only to Moscow. Privately Czech officers think it could be as higher as 40%.

Czech journalists are now tweeting shots of Mr Konchakov from his Facebook account. 1 of the most latest exhibits him surrounded by associates of Russia’s Night Wolves bike gang, in front of the statue of Environment War Two Russian general Ivan Konev in Prague.

Which is the statue that has now been taken off the act that triggered so significantly anger in Moscow.

Who are the a few mayors?

1 is Ondrej Kolar, mayor of Prague’s sixth district who requested the elimination of the statue of Marshal Konev. He went into hiding as reviews of the plot emerged and explained to the BBC that “Czech law enforcement and the top secret company do have some intel that there may be a threat right from the Russian aspect”.

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Media captionOndrej Kolar speaking to the BBC from a secret site

Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib backed the renaming of a square up coming to the Russian embassy following Boris Nemtsov, the opposition chief murdered in close proximity to the Kremlin in 2015.

The third is yet another district mayor, Pavel Novotny, who has backed a memorial to the anti-Soviet “Russian Liberation Army”. Historians say the RLA, a division of Soviet prisoners of war built-in into the German army, did much more to liberate Prague than the Crimson Army, but Moscow sees them as fascist collaborators.



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