Czech Republic

Scoop: EU statement opposing U.S. embassy move is blocked

A sign points the way to the new US embassy in Jerusalem. Photo: Sergey Orlov\TASS via Getty Images

Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania, in coordination with Israel, today blocked a joint EU statement criticizing the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, Israeli officials and European diplomats told me.

Behind the scenes: The initiative to publish the statement was led by France and several other EU member states. Israeli officials say the goal was to present to the U.S. a common position against the move by all 28 member states, and to embarrass and isolate the Trump administration ahead of Monday's ceremony.

U.S. seems to be winning tug of war with Russia over hacker's extradition

Photo: Sergei Konkov\TASS via Getty Images

Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikan appears to be leaning toward extraditing Russian hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin to the United States rather than Russia, after telling parliament he will base his decision on where the most severe crimes were committed and which side requested his extradition first. Both criteria point to the U.S.

Why it matters: Nikulin is the centre of a tug-of-war between the U.S. and Russia after he was picked up by the Czech authorities in Prague in October 2016 on an international arrest warrant tied to the hacking of social networks including LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring. However, the U.S. authorities believe he may also have information about Russian state-sponsored cyber activities — a view politicians and analysts say is supported by Russia’s desperate attempts to have him sent back home.

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