Czechs Blame Russia for Backing Failed Arson Attack in Prague

(Bloomberg) -- The Czech Republic accused Russia of organizing and financing a failed arson attack by a foreigner who tried to set public buses on fire in Prague last week.

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Speaking in a televised briefing after a meeting of the country’s security council, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said authorities in several European Union nations have in recent weeks uncovered information that Russian intelligence services may be planning various sabotage actions across the bloc.

“There is a suspicion that the attack was organized and financed most likely from Russia,” he said. “It’s part of a hybrid war that Russia is waging on us, against which we have to defend ourselves and which we have to stop.”

Czech police detained a man of South American origin after he unsuccessfully attempted to start a fire in a garage owned by the Prague city transport company, the CTK newswire reported on Monday.

A court ordered that the man, whose identity wasn’t released, remain in custody, according to police chief Martin Vondrasek. He may face as long as life in prison for an attempted terrorist act, he said.

In March, Czech counter-intelligence services said they uncovered a Russian network trying to influence politics and public opinion across the continent, including by making payments to European politicians through a Prague-based website, Voice of Europe.

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