The Weekend of Fighting Back

My teacher used to recite a quote from former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela when I was struggling on a particular assignment, “It’s Always seems impossible until it’s done.”

This past weekend shows the impossible is happening as European nations are joining together and placing harsh sanctions on Russia due to their actions in the past or current ones. While Russia has tried to go tit for tat, you have seen a rise in countries supporting each other on sanctions or expulsions. This needs to continue from other nations. When we fight together we are invincible.

Czech Republic and United Kingdom

On Sunday, the EU’s executive commission confirmed remarks by acting Czech Foreign Minister Jan Hamacek on Twitter that the dispute with Russia would be addressed during a previously scheduled EU foreign ministers’ video conference today. “As Foreign Minister I decided to expel all employees of the Russian Embassy who were clearly identified by our security services as officers of Russian Intelligence Services, SVR and GRU,” said Hamcek. The Czech Republic expelled 18 employees of the Russian Embassy in Prague in retaliation for the 2014 explosion at an ammunition depot in Vrbetice, which caused huge financial and environmental damage.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis said Saturday “there is well founded suspicion that officers of Russian Intelligence Services GRU, unit 29155 were connected to the explosion of a munition depots in Vrbetice in the year 2014.” The suspects of the explosion have been linked to the 2018 novichok nerve agent poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, England.

Czech police said that they were searching for two men (photo below) in connection with a serious crime. Czech police released images matching those of the Salisbury suspects, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. The Czech police added that the men are known to be carrying various passports, including Russian passports with Petrov and Boshirov’s names.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK “stands in “stands in full support of our Czech allies, who have exposed the lengths that the Russian intelligence services will go to in their attempts to conduct dangerous and malign operations in Europe.” He added that it showed “a pattern of behavior by Moscow, following the Novichok attack in Salisbury.”

Ukraine and France

The Ukrainian foreign ministry ordered a Russian senior diplomat to leave Ukraine, but didn’t identify the person. This was in response to Russia has ordering a Ukrainian diplomat to leave the country after allegedly receiving classified information from a database of the country’s main security agency. Alexander Sosonyuk, the Ukrainian consul in St. Petersburg, was detained Friday while meeting with a Russian in which he obtained material from a database of the Federal Security Service, according to the agency.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the international community has to “define clear red lines with Russia,” in an interview extract released Saturday, adding that countries must be ready to impose sanctions in case of “unacceptable behavior.”

Macron said the world needed to make it clear to Moscow that while it preferred “open and frank dialogue,” it will not shy from imposing sanctions after any “unacceptable behavior.”

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