Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 17, 2023

Newsline: Czechs cancel Soviet-era deal giving Russian embassy free land

The Czech government on Wednesday cancelled Soviet-era decrees that granted the Russian embassy free use of land in Prague and other cities, a further step in a more than two-year diplomatic spat with Moscow. On Wednesday, the centre-right government rescinded orders granting Russia the use of dozens of plots of lands in the 1970s and 1980s by the country’s then Communist rulers. Russia will now have to pay leases to use of the land, the foreign ministry said. (https://kfgo.com/2023/05/17/czechs-cancel-soviet-era-decrees-giving-russian-embassy-free-land/) The Russian embassy in Prague did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Prague had in 2021 accused Russian intelligence agents of being behind explosions at an arms depot in the Czech Republic in 2014, leading it to drastically reduce staff at the Russian embassy, then one of central Europe’s biggest missions and which continues to operate at a greatly reduced capacity.

Newsline: Two US consulate staffers shot, killed in attack on convoy in Nigeria

Two staff members of the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria were shot and killed along with two police operatives traveling in a convoy, and three others were kidnapped, police in the volatile West Africa nation said. The group was on a humanitarian mission when they were attacked in the Ogbaru Local Government Area of the country’s Anambra State, one of the epicenters of separatist violence in the region, said Tochukwu Ikenga, a police spokesman in Anambra. Ikenga said no U.S. citizen was on the trip. “We confirm there was an incident May 16 in Anambra state. Mission Nigeria personnel are working with Nigerian security services to investigate,” a U.S. State Department spokesperson said. “The security of our personnel is always paramount, and we take extensive precautions when organizing trips to the field. We have no further comment at this time.” (https://news.yahoo.com/2-us-consulate-staffers-2-000809684.html) Details of the attack were not disclosed.

Newsline: Bank accounts of Finland’s embassies frozen in Russia

Bank accounts of Finland’s embassies in Russia have been frozen, the Finnish foreign ministry said on Wednesday. A ministry spokesperson told Reuters the bank accounts of both Finland’s Moscow embassy and its Saint Petersburg consulate were not functioning but declined to comment further. (https://neuters.de/world/finnish-embassy-bank-accounts-frozen-russia-foreign-ministry-says-2023-05-17/) Russia’s central bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.