Disinfo: Czech Republic's accusations about Kremlin involvement in Vrbětice explosions are part of Russophobic campaign


The Czech Republic's unfounded accusations about Kremlin involvement in the Vrbětice explosions are part of a vast Russophobic campaign promoted by the West.


Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that labels any Western accusations against the Kremlin’s unacceptable international behaviour as factually unfounded and driven by Russophobia, even if such accusations are supported by clear evidence.

In October and December 2014, two explosions occurred in ammunition depots at a former army complex of warehouses and factories in the small town of Vrbětice, near the border with Slovakia.

Investigations into the events, led the Czech intelligence services, in April 2021, to reveal without any doubt Russia's involvement in the events. Czech authorities discovered that the names of two Russian men involved in the explosions are the same ones involved in the attempted murder on British soil of Sergey Skripal in 2018.

Czech police said the pair had travelled to the Czech Republic in October 2014 under the same cover identities, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, as they used in the UK in 2018. According to investigators, an email supposedly from the National Guard of Tajikistan had requested permission for “Ruslan Tabarov” from Tajikistan and “Nicolaj Popa” from Moldova, to visit the Czech storage site. The scanned image images of Tabarov’s and Popa’s false passports matched those of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. The two men turned out to be Anatoly Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, two GRU (Russian military intelligence) that work in the GRU’s notorious Unit 29155.

Unit 29155 has been linked not only to the Skripal case, but also to an alleged coup attempt in Montenegro and a murder in Bulgaria and has been investigated and reported on widely in the international media. Prague's findings were also independently corroborated by a joint investigation conducted by Bellingcat, The Insider (Russia), Der Spiegel (Germany), and Respekt.cz (Czech Republic).

Following the announcement of Russia's involvement by the Czech authorities, 18 Russian diplomats believed to be Russian intelligence officials were expelled from the Czechia. Pro-Kremlin outlets, according to analysts who monitor online disinformation, responded with a massive disinformation campaign to ridicule and discredit the Czech government’s account of what happened in Vrbětice.

The Kremlin’s weaponization of Russophobia narratives has been detailed in several EU vs Disinfo reports. Read similar cases claiming that anti-Russian campaign is the real reason behind the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Czechia, that allegations of Russian role in Vrbětice explosion are part of informational preparation for new Cold war, and that the claim that Russia was involved in the 2014 Vrbětice explosion is a lie


  • Reported in: Issue 245
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16/05/2021
  • Article language(s) Italian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia, Czech Republic
  • Keywords: GRU, Russophobia, Anti-Russian, Vrbetice explosion
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Disinfo: Ukraine is a Western colony belonging to Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Russia

That thing that we used to call Ukraine has been a Western colony for a long time.

Poland claims rights to Halychyna and Volhynia, which were part of it from 1921 to 1939, Romania claims Bukovina and Bessarabia, Hungary claims Zakarpattia. The rest of the territory of Ukraine is Russian lands with a completely Russian population, but for some reason Russia has not yet put forward claims against the neighbouring non-state that has lost its shores, openly carrying out genocide and Ukrainization of the Russian population.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation message with multiple disinformation narratives claiming that Ukraine is under external control, that Ukraine is a failed, artificial state that carries genocide of its own population, and that Ukraine does not exist as a state.

Ukraine is a sovereign and independent state with a democratically-elected president and parliament. Ukraine is not controlled by the US or any other foreign government or organisation. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by almost the whole world.

Disinfo: Czechia targets Russia in Vrbetice case to distract attention from incompetence

Czech authorities are not only incapable of conducting objective investigations but they are also incapable of adding a kind of logical chain to the ongoing mess in their country. The best Prague could have come up with was to put the entire blame on Russia, the notorious "enemy".


The case above is part of a wider disinformation campaign about the events around the Vrbětice explosion in 2014 and the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the Czech Republic in April 2021 after the involvement of Russian state actors was established by Czech authorities.

The disinformation narrative also fits into the recurring claims of Russophobia, that is, the standard response by pro-Kremlin media outlets when Western countries raise a politically conflictual issue.

Disinfo: Czechs could not make an objective investigation of the Vrbetice incident

Prague could not make an objective investigation of the Vrbetice incident, so it made the decision to shift blame to an “external enemy” - Russia.


A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the explosion in Vrbetice in 2014.

Even though Russia does not recognise its responsibility for the Vrbetice incident, the investigation by Czech authorities established beyond doubt that GRU agents Anatoly Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, the same individuals considered responsible for the attempted murder of Sergey Skripal in Salisbury in 2018, were behind an explosion in an ammunition storage depot in the Czech location of Vrbetice in 2014, which killed two people.