Czech security forces carried out a large-scale special operation, during which at least five Czech citizens, "members of military formations", were detained. It is suspected that they fought in the Donbas "on the side of the pro-Russian separatists," reports Aktualne.cz.
It is noted that the detainees are suspected of planning, organizing and even leaving for Ukraine in order to take part in hostilities. Moreover, they contacted "employees of the Russian GRU from the embassy in Prague", who had already been expelled from the country.
It is noted that in the Czech Republic, during the beginning of the conflict, several people were brought to justice for such activities. The last time a Czech was sentenced to 15 years for hiding from justice for a terrorist attack.
"This man was accused of active participation in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine by the separatist so-called Donetsk People's Republic in the fight against the legitimate government of Ukraine," said Yaroslav Ibehei, spokesman for the National Center for Combating Organized Crime in the Czech Republic.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Hamacek decided to expel from the Czech Republic 18 Russian diplomats who are suspected of working for the special services of the Russian Federation. Prague has accused Russian intelligence agencies of involvement in an October 2014 bombing of an ammunition depot that killed two workers.
In turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry called the expulsion of diplomats from the country "tricks" and promised retaliatory measures. Later, the Russian Foreign Ministry decided to expel 20 Czech diplomats from Moscow.
The Czech Republic said the expulsion by Russia of 20 embassy staff in Moscow in response to the expulsion of 18 Russian embassy staff from Prague was a stronger reaction than expected, so the Czech government will discuss further steps.