Where does the escalation end?

A high-level government source told Lidové noviny that the Czech

government will expel more Russian diplomats today. The pro-

European Czech opposition will praise the cabinet briefly for this

but will then inevitably push for even more, until parity is reached

at the embassies or diplomatic relations are broken off. Spokes-

woman Maria Zakharova of Russia's foreign ministry said yesterday

that the Czechs "in fact know how we will respond. The more they

take destructive actions and steps, the more they will receive in re-

turn." Ex-Czech PM Mirek Topolánek said yesterday on his podcast

that what we have seen so far is just the beginning and that there is

reason to be somewhat fearful of what will follow. There is a broad-

er geopolitical and regional context, he said, with Russian tanks

and armed units moving to the Ukrainian border. Such regional

conflicts can grow into something more, he said. As an employee

of Eustream, the Slovak company that imports Russian natural gas

into Europe from Ukraine, he probably has good reason to be fear-

ful. If the escalation doesn't end, the gas valves could be turned off.

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