CzechRep Reciprocates Ukraine´s Expulsion Of Czech Diplomats

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The Czech Republic has already reciprocated Ukraine´s recent expulsion of two Czech diplomats from Kiev, according to CTK´s information today.

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.

It is not clear whether one or more Ukrainian diplomats have left the Czehh Republic.

Vit Kolar, spokesman for the Czech Foreign Ministry, only said Czech diplomacy has informed its Ukrainian counterparts about its steps.

"One of the rules is discretion," Kolar said.

Ukrainian media quote their Foreign Ministry as saying that Prague decided to expel one Ukrainian diplomat.

The current Czech-Ukrainian rift has been triggered by the case of two employees of the military section of the Czech embassy in Kiev.

The Ukrainian counter-intelligence accused them of collecting classified information on Ukraine´s armament production and expelled them from the country.

The Czech Foreign Ministry announced on Monday it is planning expelling Ukrainian diplomats.

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said the Czech Republic will take the step discretely, without unnecessary publicity.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reacted publicly condemning the Czech plan and said it is an absolutely inappropriate reaction.

Schwarzenberg then told CTK that he has never seen any state considering such a reciprocal measure adequate.

Kiev authorities claim that they have "exhausting evidence" of the "absolutely inappropriate conduct" of two Czech officers who were involved in spying under the cover of diplomatic immunity.

It said, on the contrary, Ukrainian diplomats in Prague are behaving in harmony with the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations.

The Czech Republic considers the incident a revenge for the political asylum that it granted to former Ukrainian economy minister Bohdan Danylyshyn who is prosecuted in Ukraine for alleged abuse of ministerial powers in negotiating state orders and who fled to the Czech Republic last October.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry dismisses any connection with the case. However, commentaries in the Ukrainian press, based on the opinions of Ukrainian diplomats and lawyers, unequivocally confirm connection between the expulsion and asylum for Danylyshyn.

Source: Czech Happenings