A Czech official has alleged a Russian plot to ‘liquidate’ him and two other politicians including the mayor of Prague, who is feared to be under threat from a ricin attack.
Ondrej Kolar, the leader of Prague’s District 6, revealed last night that he was under police protection – a day after mayor Zdenek Hrib said he was also being guarded.
The two men – along with the third alleged target, city official Pavel Novotny – have clashed with Moscow over the removal of a controversial Soviet statue in Prague.
A Czech magazine has claimed that a Russian hitman entered the country armed with ricin, a toxic chemical, but the Kremlin has dismissed the claims.
Ondrej Kolar (pictured), the leader of Prague’s District 6, revealed last night that he was under police protection from an alleged Russian hitman
Prague mayor Zdenek Hrib (pictured left) in February, with the daughter of Boris Nemtsov – a murdered Russian opposition leader after whom a Prague square was renamed
Kolar told Czech media last night that he was being kept at an undisclosed location after going under protection.
‘All I can tell you is that I’ve been granted police protection,’ he told the Czech Prima TV station.
‘It was assigned to me because there’s a Russian here who has been given the task of liquidating me,’ he said.
‘Not only me, but also Zdenek Hrib and Pavel Novotny,’ he added, referring to the mayor and another official.
Hrib had said on Monday that he was under police protection, but stopped short of confirming the reports of a Russian plot.
The Czech weekly news magazine Respekt claimed that a Russian national using a diplomatic passport had recently arrived in Prague carrying ricin.
A statue of Soviet general Ivan Konev is removed from its pedestal in Prague earlier this month, a move which angered Moscow
Hrib and Kolar clashed with Moscow earlier this month after they spearheaded the removal of a controversial Cold War-era statue of Soviet general Ivan Konev.
Konev was regarded as a hero in the USSR, but many Czechs see him as a symbol of Soviet-era oppression.
Russian diplomats said the removal of the statue was an ‘unfriendly’ act of ‘vandalism by unhinged municipal representatives’.
Separately, Hlib was also the mayor responsible for renaming a square in Prague after a murdered Russian opposition leader.
The square, where Russia’s embassy is situated, was renamed Boris Nemtsov Square in February after the Putin critic who was shot dead in 2015.
Putin condemned the killing and the Kremlin denied any involvement, but the shooting is still clouded by doubts.
Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, pictured in 2012, was shot dead as he walked across a bridge in Moscow in 2015. A Prague square was named after him in February 2020
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, speaking to reporters in Moscow on Monday, said the claims made in the Respekt report were ‘misinformation’.
Novotny, the mayor of Prague’s southwestern Reporyje district, confirmed on Monday that he had also received police protection, without elaborating.
He also clashed with the Kremlin in November 2019 after proposing a memorial to Russian troops who broke ranks with the Soviet Union during World War II.
Czech prime minister Andrej Babis said yesterday that his country would not allow ‘any world power to influence our political affairs in any manner’.
The Czech foreign ministry has raised the possibility of sending the Konev statue to Russia, according to Czech media reports.
Courtesy DAILY MAIL