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Russian ambassador on expulsion of Irish diplomat: 'Every action finds its counteraction'

Yury Filatov said he is still optimistic about Ireland’s future relationship with Russia.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated 1.18pm

THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR to Ireland has said Ireland’s decision to expel a Russian diplomat is “not the end of the world” and that his country’s own expulsion of an Irish diplomat is in keeping with the spirit of reciprocity.

Last week the Irish government announced it would expel one Russian diplomat to show solidarity with the UK over the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury. On Friday the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that, in response to Ireland’s decision, Russia had asked one Irish diplomat to leave.

Speaking at the embassy in Dublin this afternoon, Yury Filatov presented reporters with three lists of questions – one for the UK to answer, one for France and the third for the Organisationof the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Among those posed to the British government are:

  • Why has Russia been denied consular access to two Russian citizens who were injured in the UK?
  • Which specific antidotes and in what form were the victims administered [sic]?
  • How did the British doctors at the scene of the incident happen to have such antidotes in their possession?
  • What evidence was handed over to Franch for testing to conduct its own investigation?
  • Does the UK have control samples of the chemical warfare agent which British representatives refer to as Novichok?
  • Have samples of the chemical warfare agency of the Novichok type been developed in the UK?

“These questions are not meant to be rhetorical, they have to be answered. So far the only thing which is clear to us is that British government decided to put the blame for the Salisbury incident on Russia without presenting any, any evidence to that effect,” the ambassador said.

We suggest that the British authorities answer these questions. If they choose to ignore them there is ample ground to assume we’re dealing with a grand scale provocation organised by London with the aim to discredit Russia.

Filatov rejected any claim that Russia was involved in the attack and said his country will not tolerate this kind of “irresponsible” behaviour on the part of the British government.

“You might assume that if it’s not Russia, then somebody did it and you have to just look for someone who would benefit either criminally or politically, I don’t know,” he told reporters.

“Some experts have suggested a number of scenarios, some of them seem well at least plausible involve sectors of the British government.”

‘Common sense’

When asked about the relationship between Ireland and Russia now that each have expelled a diplomat, he said it was “not the end of the world” and that both countries still have an interest in developing areas of business, culture and education together.

He said his government had explained its decision to expel an Irish diplomat to the government here.

“Nobody ruled out the leading principle of diplomacy, which is reciprocity. Basically, you have to assume every action finds its counteraction – that’s the way it is.”

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland earlier, Filatov declined to name the Russian diplomat who has been asked to leave Ireland, but said his departure is expected in a number of days.

“Before the whole thing happened, I reasoned and called for common sense to prevail – unfortunately that was not really entirely the case, but I am an optimist and we still have a very sound foundation for the relationship between our countries,” he said.

He said governments have been “severely misled by British colleagues”.

Read: ‘No justification for this’ – An Irish diplomat is to be expelled from Russia>

Read: Russian ambassador: Ireland expelling diplomat is ‘unwarranted, uncalled for, senseless and regrettable’>

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