DISINFO: Alleging that GRU was involved in 2014 Vrbětice explosion is a way of scaring people
  • Outlet: cz.sputniknews.com (archived)*
  • Date of publication: April 19, 2021
  • Article language(s): Czech
  • Reported in: Issue 242
  • Countries / regions discussed: Russia, Czech Republic
Vrbetice explosion GRU

DISINFO: Alleging that GRU was involved in 2014 Vrbětice explosion is a way of scaring people


The current approach of the Czech government and politicians following the announcement of GRU’s alleged role in the 2014 Vrbětice explosion is just like in the 1950s in Czechoslovakia.

If Donald Trump remained the President of the US, something like this would have probably not been announced. It is not that effective to use COVID-19 to scare people anymore and that is why the government seeks other possibilities – such as this one.


The claim is part of an emerging pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative surrounding the 2014 fatal explosion at an amunition depot in Vrbetice, Czechia and the suspected role of Russia's GRU agency in the incident.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and the temporary Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Hamáček announced on 17 April 2021 that the Czech intelligence services collected evidence demonstrating Russia's involvement in the 2014 Vrbětice explosion. More specifically, it implicates Unit 29155, a division of Russia's GRU agency previously linked to "assassination attempts and other subversive actions across Europe."

Prague identified the intelligence officers, and demanded they leave the country over links to an explosion at a privately-operated arms depot in 2014.

Earlier pro-Kremlin coverage relating to the Vrbetice incident includes claims that it had been designed, among other things, to "curry favour" with the US; to force Moscow out of a multi-billion dollar tender; to discredit the Sputnik V vaccine; to divert international attention from an attempted Western "coup" in Belarus.


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Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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