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A man holds his passport during an interview with AFP in Belgrade on Feb. 1, 2024. (Andrej Isakovic / AFP via Getty Images)
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Czechia no longer recognizes non-biometric Russian passports, and Russians without biometric passports will be considered to be illegally residing in Czechia, Czech media outlet Idnes reported on July 4, citing the Foreign Ministry.

"Everyone who wants to stay in our country must prove himself credible," Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky told Czech outlet Idnes.

"Security is a priority for our government. We will not wait for another sabotage," Lipavsky said.

A Russian sabotage operation in 2014 led to ammunition depot explosions in the eastern Czech town of Vrbetice, killing two people and causing damages in tens of millions of dollars.

Media reports emerged in 2021 that the ammunition was supposed to be transferred either to Ukraine or to Syria, reportedly for the Syrian opposition battling the regime of Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Russia. The company that owned the supplies disputed these claims.

According to Lipavsky, the Russian agents entered Czechia with non-biometric passports.

"I will also work to limit the movement of Russian diplomats in Schengen, because it is another tool of espionage against democratic countries," Lipavsky added.

The Foreign Ministry said a decision has not yet been made on what to do with those who are now considered to be in Czecia illegally.

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6:52 PM

Ukraine's GDP grew by more than 4% in 6 months.

"Due to the high adaptability to difficult conditions and experience in responding to such challenges, the Ukrainian economy continued to grow" in June, said Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko.
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