Sunday, 18 March 2018

Russia expels British diplomats

Russia Shuts Down Undercover MI6 Operation In Moscow

Inessa Sinchougova

16 March, 2018

The British Ambassador to Russia, Laurie Bristow, has been summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This was reported by the Russian Foreign Ministry. Maria Zakharova said that decisions on Moscow’s response to London have been taken and will soon be communicated to the British side.

On March 14, British Prime Minister Teresa May announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats.

Moscow’s response to the actions of Britain are tougher, as “political rudeness can not be tolerated,” said the first Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, Vladimir Jabarov. The Russian Foreign Ministry announced demanded that 23 diplomatic employees of the British Embassy in Moscow leave in a week’s time. Also, the activity of the British Council in Russia is to be ceased and the British Consulate General in St. Petersburg is to be closed.

Our measures are tougher: this is not a question of reciprocating the usual expulsion of diplomats, but because the United Kingdom has accused Russia of a country that distributes and uses chemical weapons. Such political rudeness can not be tolerated, “Jabarov explained.

During the visit of British Ambassador Laurie Bristow to the Russian Foreign Ministry, he was informed about Russia’s response.After leaving the Foreign Ministry building, the ambassador did not answer the journalists’ questions, but did make a short statement.

Bristow recalled the position of Britain: the crisis in relations began with the incident in Salisbury, which he called “an attack on the entire international system.” The chemical weapons used there, according to the ambassador, were developed in Russia and not declared to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. According to the ambassador, Great Britain “will do everything necessary to protect itself and its allies.”

Meanwhile, the head of the State Duma’s international affairs committee, Leonid Slutsky, believes that Moscow has responded symmetrically to London’s actionsAccording to him, the announcement of 23 British diplomats as non-grata persons is ” an absolutely adequate and symmetrical response to the actions of London , where a provocative campaign was launched to libel Russia in connection with the “Skripal case”.

According to Slutsky, Great Britain ” is completely in subservient to the United States , where also, under a far-fetched pretext and without any evidence, there was, in fact, a diplomatic confrontation.” “We did not start it, but we have to react with appropriate measures,” says Slutsky.

Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs, Alexei Chepa, also believes that Russia gave an adequate response to Britain’s actions. He does not exclude a new round of tension in bilateral relations, suggesting that Britain “will try to do something else in response to our steps.”

The decision to stop the activities of the British Council in Russia was made because of the fact that British intelligence MI6 was operating under the guise of this organization, as stated by a veteran of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia, Igor Morozov. He recalled that the British side did not agree to the opening iof the Russian Center of Science and Culture in London, whose functions correspond to the officially announced functions of the British Council.

The British Council worked in Russia without permission, with our goodwill, which we wanted to develop in a constructive way between Russia and the UK, which did not happen,” Morozov said.

Moscow expels 23 UK diplomats & shuts British Council in response to ‘provocative moves’

Moscow expels 23 UK diplomats & shuts British Council in response to ‘provocative moves’

The Russian Foreign Ministry said 23 UK diplomats must leave Russia in response to Britain’s “provocative actions and groundless accusations” over ex-double agent Sergei Skripal’s poisoning. The British Council will also be shut.

Britain’s ambassador to Russia, Laurie Bristow, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Saturday morning, where he was informed of Moscow’s response to London’s claims that Russia is behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former double agent, and his daughter, Yulia, on March 4 in Salisbury, UK.

The ministry issued a statement saying 23 employees of the British embassy in Moscow have been declared personae non gratae. The diplomats must leave within a week. It also announced the operation of the British Council in Russia will be ceased given its “unregulated status.”

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson © Peter Nicholls

In addition, Russia is revoking its agreement on the opening and operation of the UK Consulate General in St. Petersburg due to“disparity in the number of consulate facilities of the two countries.”

The British side has been warned that in case further moves of an unfriendly nature towards Russia are implemented, the Russian side reserves the right to take other response measures,” the statement added.

London earlier ordered 23 Russian diplomats to leave the UK by March 20. Including family members, around 80 people will be uprooted from the country, according to Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko.

Bristow told reporters upon leaving the ministry that “this crisis has arisen as a result of an appalling attack in the UK,” again linking Skripal’s murder attempt to a “chemical weapon developed in Russia.” He added that London’s steps were not directed against the “Russian people.”

On Friday, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally ordered the suspected nerve agent attack – a claim Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called “shocking and unforgivable.”

Sooner or later the British side would have to present some kind of comprehensive evidence [of Russia’s involvement], at least, to their partners [France, the US, Germany], who declared solidarity with London in this situation,” Peskov added.

Moscow has repeatedly offered its full cooperation in investigating the incident, which London claims involved a Soviet-era nerve agent called Novichok. Both nations are members of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which means that London is obliged to include Moscow in the investigation.

UK to 'consider next steps' after Moscow announces expulsion of British diplomats – May

The UK will consider its next steps in response to Russia's expulsion of 23 diplomats, British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced. It comes amid London's allegations that Russia was behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal.

"In light of their (Russia's) previous behaviour, we anticipated a response of this kind and we will consider our next steps in the coming days, alongside our allies and partners," May said while speaking at the Conservative Spring Forum in London on Saturday. "But Russia’s response doesn’t change the facts of the matter - the attempted assassination of two people on British soil, for which there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable."

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