Deputy PM Jan Hamáček (ČSSD) wanted to offer to Russia to keep quiet about their 2014 GRU attack in Czechia - in exchange for vaccines, witnesses say.
Two weeks after the information about an attack by the Russian military intelligence GRU at the Vrbětice ammunition depot was made public, the Seznam Zprávy server published witness statements about the previously planned trip to Moscow by the Minister of the Interior and deputy PM Jan Hamáček.
According to a number of witnesses, Hamáček, who was also in charge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time (after the dismissal of his party colleague Tomáš Petříček) planned to go to Moscow to exchange Czechia's silence for a million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine and the possibility of a Joe Biden / Vladimir Putin summit taking place in Prague.
Publicly, Hamáček only announced he was going to Moscow to get the vaccines. He communicated his real plans on a meeting that took place on April 15 - two days before the information about the GRU attack where two people died broke. Seznam Zprávy says that the Ambassador to Russia Vítězslav Pivoňka, Director of the Office for Foreign Relations and Information Marek Šimandl, Director of Military Intelligence Jan Beroun and Police Director Jan Švejdar were present. Later, the Prosecutor General Pavel Zeman also arrived.
The Czech Republic and Russia have since expelled numerous diplomats over the scandal. Back then, however, Hamáček had information from Pavel Zeman that the case would most likely end in adjournment and would not go to court at all - as the foreign agents would not be available for questioning. Sources say that when Hamáček presented his plan, those present were horrified and urged him to cancel the trip.
Pavel Zeman confirmed that when he arrived late at the meeting, it seemed that Hamáček was not going. When Hamáček and PM Andrej Babiš (ANO) announced the attack in Vrbětice on April 17, Hamáček came up with the idea that the whole story about the trip was a cover-up to confuse the Russians before the information was made public. Before the publication of the Seznam Zprávy article, Hamáček has denied the allegations.