Prague/Moscow, April 13 (CTK) – The Czech Foreign Ministry will provide explanation of the rejected applications to extend the accreditations of two Russian journalists to Moscow, its spokeswoman Michaela Lagronova told CTK in reaction to the resolutely protest Russia raised yesterday.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the step will harm Czech-Russian relations and lead to a reciprocal reaction. It summoned the representative of the Czech Embassy in Moscow to provide an official explanation.
“We will explain the situation to the Russian Embassy in Prague and we will give this information to tje Russian Foreign Ministry via our embassy in Moscow,” Lagronova said.
She said she cannot give details on the case because the information on rejected accreditation applications is classified.
The two journalists are Alexander Kuranov, a Czech correspondent of the Russian news agency RIA Novosti and the Russia Yesterday TV news channel, and, according to the Russian daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta, reporter Vladimir Snegiryov from the Moscow daily Vechernyaya Moskva.
RIA Novosti said Kuranov has been based in Prague since the 1980s. The agency said he has been working for it since July 2014.
Citing sources from Czech security services and Czech diplomacy, the weekly Respekt said the Czech counter-intelligence BIS considers both reporters a security risk to the country.
Respekt wrote that whenever the Czech Republic adopted similar measures, Moscow took retaliatory steps, not letting some of the Czech journalists or diplomats work in Russia.
RIA Novosti said the Czech authorities did not extend his accreditation last November already, but after the Russian diplomacy resolutely protested and threatened to take retaliatory steps, they called the rejection a misunderstanding. Now an extension of Kuranov’s accreditation for his work in the Czech Republic was rejected again.
RIA editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan criticised the Czech authorities for not giving any reason for declining to extend the accreditation.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Prague did not respect the freedom of speech and the rights of journalists.