PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech Republic may expel some Russian diplomats after Britain took similar steps in retaliation for an attack on a former Russian spy in England, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Friday.
European Union leaders backed Britain at a summit on Thursday, blaming Moscow over the nerve agent attack and recalling their envoy to Moscow.
Speaking after the summit, Babis told reporters he would discuss expulsions with the foreign minister and others in his cabinet on Monday, adding “we are likely heading in this direction”.
“Certainly we are considering it,” Babis said when asked about the chance of expelling Russian diplomats, according to a transcript of the comments to reporters made after late-night meetings in Brussels.
He said the number of diplomats would be in the single digits, not dozens, and would not include the ambassador.
The Czech Republic has been dragged into the dispute after a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said last Saturday that the most likely source of the Novichok nerve agent was Britain itself or the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden or the United States.
The Czech Republic strongly denied that, and Foreign Minister Martin Stropnicky summoned Russia’s ambassador over the claim this week.
Reporting by Jason Hovet, editing by Larry King