The Czech police is completing its investigation of the case of Russian and Ukrainian citizens who tried to throw tomatoes at NATO Secretary-General George Robertson during the November NATO summit in Prague.
According to spokeswoman of the Prague police Daniela Razimova, 19-year-old Russian Dmitry Nechayev and 25-year-old Ukrainian Dmitry Bakhur are charged with hooliganism. "Next Wednesday, December 18, we plan to transfer all the documents pertaining to this case to the Russian and Ukrainian authorities," Razimova explained. Late in November Nechayev and Bakhur left the territory of the Czech Republic and returned home.
In compliance with the Czech Criminal Code, both hooligans may face a sentence of up to two years of imprisonment or a large monetary penalty.
On November 22, upon the completion of the NATO summit events in Prague, and not long before the end of the final press conference, tomatoes were thrown at George Robertson. Two officially accredited journalists, according to one of the versions, threw several plastic bags filled with water at Robertson. The Czech police immediately refuted the statements by some mass media that tomatoes had been thrown at the head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Later the police put forward a new version to the effect that "red rubber balls were thrown at George Robertson." On November 23 the police came in favour of the version that these had been tomatoes after all. "The whole incident lasted several seconds. That is why, it was difficult at once to understand what had actually happened," the Czech police spokeswoman explained to RIA Novosti.
When Robertson's guards were bringing the hooligans out of the hall, one of them shouted that they were activists of the National-Bolshevik party of Russia. The other shouted: "The blood of all children is on you!" and "NATO is worse than the Gestapo." He had a red arm band.
Authorised representative of the Czech government for the summit preparation Alexander Vondra said that such "behaviour demonstrated by journalists is at least indecent." He equated this act of hooliganism with the actions of monarchists in Brno who had thrown eggs at then U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during her visit to the local university. President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel immediately called Robertson over the phone and apologised for the hooliganism of the two journalists.
This incident was the first and the sole one in the Prague congress centre during the NATO summit on November 21-22.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart