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Czech politics in crisis over 2014 ammo depot explosions as President Zeman refuses to accept intelligence reports blaming Russia

Czech politics in crisis over 2014 ammo depot explosions as President Zeman refuses to accept intelligence reports blaming Russia
The Czech Republic’s internal spat over the 2014 ammunition depot explosions shows no signs of calming down, with President Milos Zeman refusing to accept Prague’s security service's conclusions that Russia is to blame.

The dispute has now become so intense that both the country's Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Minister of Justice Marie Benesova have gone on the attack against Zeman.

In October and December 2014, explosions took place at arms depots in Vrbetice, killing two people. Last month, Czech First Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamacek revealed that the country's authorities believe they know the identities of two men supposedly responsible for the explosions, and both allegedly work for Russian military intelligence.

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Following the revelations, Prague expelled 18 of Russia’s diplomats, before later announcing that the Russian Embassy in the capital would be reduced to match the size of the Czech delegation in Moscow.

However, despite the conclusions of his country’s intelligence services, the Czech president is not convinced. Speaking on Sunday, Zeman told radio station Frekvence 1 that he is not convinced that there is only one explanation for the explosions, noting that he trusted the country's police, but did not trust the security and information service. In particular, he suggested that the incidents were staged to cover up a shortage.

In response, Babis explained that there is only one theory for what happened.

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“I explained to the president that the police are investigating only one version [of the story],” Babis said, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti. “It is possible that there were more versions [in the past]. But I can't explain why the president insists that there is more than one version [today].”

Justice head Benesova also backed up the prime minister, noting that the country only has one theory, blaming Russian military intelligence.

Moscow has denied any involvement, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov calling the allegations “inflammatory and unfriendly.”

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