A Czech television report aired on Sunday evening claims that traces lead to Andrei Konchakov
The Czech media named the alleged name of the Russian diplomat, whom the country’s special services, also according to press reports, suspect that he brought poison ricin to Prague to organize an assassination attempt on municipal politicians.
The Czech television report, which aired on Sunday night on the 168-hour program, claimed that “traces lead to Andrei Konchakov,” the acting head of the Rossotrudnichestvo representative office in Prague.
It is alleged that the diplomat flew to Prague on March 14 – even before the cancellation of air travel with Moscow due to the coronavirus epidemic – and brought poison in a suitcase, which, according to international practice, was not inspected.
Previously, the Czech website Seznam Zprávy named the alleged “man with ricin”. His material previously spoke of “Andrei Vladimirovich K.,” a 34-year-old diplomat (that’s how many years Konchakov has been), who heads the representative office of one of the Russian structures in Prague. Seznam interviewed him. The Russian representative rejected the suggestion that he had brought poison to Prague, saying that there were sweets and disinfectants in his suitcase. At the same time, he noted that he could make an official statement only after coordinating it with Moscow.
On Monday morning, Seznam replaced the designation “K.” in its publication. to the name “Konchakov”.
Konchakov did not answer the phone calls of Radio Liberty.
Andrei Konchakov, who is described by Czech media as the alleged Russian intelligence officer, graduated from Moscow Engineering Physics Institute. He has been working in the Czech Republic for several years, at the head of the local representative office of Rossotrudnichestvo since 2017. As the head of the mission, he leads an active public activity. He is also an active Facebook user, in recent days, including the day before, after publishing in the Czech media, he has been posting various materials on his Victory Day on his page. He did not comment on Facebook the accusations against him.
In late April, the Respect magazine announced the arrival of a Russian diplomat with ricin in baggage in Prague. Sources of the publication said that he could be an agent of the Russian special services. Czech counterintelligence suspected that Moscow might be planning an attack on municipal Czech politicians. Mayors of two Prague districts and Prague itself were taken under protection.
The other day, the Czech newspaper Lidové noviny claimed that the diplomat warned by the security services was an undercover FSB officer. An anonymous report claimed that he could carry two poisons with him, not one. Together with ricin, he could transport toxic saxitoxin.
The newspaper’s message also referred to the date of arrival of the alleged man with ricin in Prague on March 14 and noted that Czech intelligence services warned him of the arrival of an anonymous message.
The newspaper emphasizes that it is not known whether he really delivered these poisons. According to the newspaper, a Russian can still be in the Czech Republic, since there’s nothing to declare him non grata for. And the media reports about his appearance in the republic put the country’s authorities in an uncomfortable situation because they cannot prove that he really posed a danger to anyone.
It was reported, in particular, that the attempt could threaten Ondrej Kolář, the head of Prague-6, the initiator of the dismantling of the monument to Marshal Ivan Konev, which caused the wrath of Moscow. At the same time, the monument was dismantled on April 4, that is, after, according to media reports, the poison was delivered to Prague. This casts doubt on the initial allegations of Respect, which linked history with ricin to the dismantling of the monument.
Also, according to media reports, the mayor of Prague, Zdenek Grzyb, was taken under protection, on the initiative of which the square where the Russian embassy is located was renamed in honor of Boris Nemtsov, and the head of the Rzhepory district, Pavel Novotny, the initiator of the installation of a monument to the ROA soldiers. Both of these decisions also met with criticism of Moscow.
The Czech authorities have not formally charged Russia with preparing an assassination attempt against municipal politicians.
The Russian authorities reject the story of ricin. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Respect’s publication “duck-like”; Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that the allegations in the text are “unthinkable.”