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Russia suspected of being behind a recent failed arson attack in Prague, Czech prime minister says

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PRAGUE (AP) — Czech authorities suspect that Russia may have been behind last week’s attempt to set Prague public transport buses on fire, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said Monday.

A 26-year-old suspect was arrested Saturday and charged with terrorism in connection with Thursday’s failed arson attack. The suspect, who is from Latin America, faces up to life in prison if convicted, said police chief officer Martin Vondrášek.

“There’s a suspicion that the attack was likely organized and financed from Russia,” Fiala said. He said the failed attempt was likely part of Russia’s hybrid war against his country.

He said the attempt was part of Russia’s repeated effort “to undermine the trust of citizens in our state.”

Czechia is a staunch supporter of Ukraine that is fighting Russia’s invasion.

“Unfortunately, it’s not the first case,” Fiala said, pointing to a huge ammunition depot explosion allegedly caused by Russian spies.

Czech leaders said in 2021 that they had evidence pointing to the participation of two agents from Russia’s military spy agency in a 2014 explosion that killed two people.

Russia has denied any involvement.

Following Thursday’s arson attack, Interior Minister Vít Rakušan suggested that similar attacks might be planned in other European countries but declined to give more details.

Police boosted security in the capital over the weekend due to the case amid the European Parliament election.

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