As director of Czech Security (BSI), Colonel Michal Kudelka (see photo) had accused Russia of being involved in the 2014 explosions at the ammo storage facility in the Czech village of Vrbetice. He was subsequently relieved of his functions by President Miloš Zeman, who accused him of making unfounded accusations and was categorically opposed to his being promoted to the rank of general.

Despite the internal battle it gave rise to, the government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala has decided to re-appoint Michal Koudelka to his former position as of 15 February 2022.

Colonel Kudelka was trained by the foreign intelligence service of the United Kingdom (MI6) and bestowed with a top CIA award. He tried, unsuccessfully, to implicate President Zeman in a case of espionage in the service of Russia. He maintains close relations with Hakan Fidan (head of the Turkish intelligence services) and with Imam Samer Shehadeh (ex-number two of the Muslim Community in Prague, sentenced to 14 years in prison for his links with Al-Qaeda in Syria).

In 2014, the Czech press had reported that the weapons stockpiled in Vrbetice were supposed to be shipped to to Ukraine by Bulgarian trafficker Emilian Gebrev (murdered in 2015). But according to the Seznam website, these weapons were actually intended for the jihadist groups involved in the Western war against Syria.

Russia, for its part, has always denied being in any way involved with the explosions. Kudelka’s accusations against Russia were aimed both to protect Samer Shehadeh and to prevent the Russian company Rosatom from winning a major contract for the expansion of the Czech Dukovany nuclear power plant.