Britain has said it stands with the Czech Republic in the face of Russia’s “dangerous and malign” operations in Europe, after Prague linked two agents wanted in the UK over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal to a deadly explosion. The Czech government on Saturday said it would expel 18 Russian diplomats in connection with two explosions at an ammunition dump in 2014, in which two people died. At the same time, Czech police issued a wanted notice for Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, the names used by the agents believed to have been behind the 2018 Novichok poisoning of Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury. Czech police said the men were wanted in connection to a “serious crime” and reported that they had been in the country in the days leading up to the blasts in the eastern town of Vrbetice. “The UK stands in full support of our Czech allies, who have exposed the lengths that the Russian intelligence services will go to in their attempts to conduct dangerous and malign operations in Europe,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in response to the news. “This shows a pattern of behaviour by Moscow, following the Novichok attack in Salisbury. My sympathies are with the families of the victims in Vrbetice.” Mr Raab added in a statement: “We are as determined and committed as ever to bring those responsible for the attack in Salisbury to justice, and commend the actions of the Czech authorities to do the same. Russia must desist from these actions, which violate the most basic international norms.” Washington also expressed support for “its steadfast ally, the Czech Republic”.