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Dublin: 5 °C Saturday 22 February, 2020

Russian ambassador: Ireland expelling diplomat is 'unwarranted, uncalled for, senseless and regrettable'

Yury Filatov said the move jeopardised Irish-Russian relations.

THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR to Ireland has said that the government’s decision to expel one of its diplomats from the country “will not go unanswered”.

Speaking from the embassy in Dublin today, Yury Filatov described it as “unwarranted, uncalled for, senseless and regrettable”.

In a statement earlier today, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that he had informed Filatov that the “accreditation of a member of his staff with diplomatic status is to be terminated”.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, meanwhile, said that while Ireland “has no quarrel with the Russian people”, expelling the diplomat is an “act of solidarity” with the UK over the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.

1907 Russian_90540696 Source: Eamonn Farrell/

Filatov, however, described it as an “unfriendly act” from Ireland towards Russia and put “the enormous goodwill between our people” at risk.

He said that while Ireland is well within its rights to express solidarity with the UK, it should not be done at the expense of its relationship with Russia.

“We totally reject the underlying notion of this so-called Russian involvement in the Salisbury incident,” Filatov added, as well as indicating that the diplomat being expelled has done “nothing bad” in Ireland.

The ambassador described the global reaction to the Salisbury incident as “political theatre”, and that Moscow had been informed of the Irish government’s decision.

He did not give an indication, however, as to what retaliatory reaction would be taken against Ireland, or its own diplomats in Moscow.

Ireland has joined other EU and western countries in choosing to expel Russian diplomats over the Skripal incident, which has left the former spy and his daughter in critical condition.

The UK has blamed Russia for the attack, said to have been perpetrated using a chemical developed in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The House of Commons was told the Kremlin was “culpable” for the attack, and that the UK would expel 23 Russian diplomats.

The Taoiseach faced criticism today in the Dáil for his decision to follow the UK’s example, with the opposition accusing him of making a decision that was not evidence-based.

Read: Taoiseach says expulsion of Russian diplomat from Ireland is an ‘act of solidarity’ with the UK

Read: Why has Ireland ousted a Russian diplomat, and how significant is it?

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Sean Murray

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