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.