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Russian Ambassador warns Ireland should use 'common sense' when considering diplomat expulsions

The government is expected to decide whether to expel Russian diplomats later today.

Russian Ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatrov
Russian Ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatrov
Image: RTÉ's Claire Byrne Live via Twitter

THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR to Ireland has said the government should use “common sense” when considering the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the country in response to the former Russian spy poisoning in England.

The comments come after the US and more than a dozen European nations – including France, Italy and Germany – kicked out Russian diplomats yesterday.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal was found unconscious in the English town of Salisbury earlier this month after being poisoned by a nerve agent.

Speaking in an interview with RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live show, Russian Ambassador Yury Filatov said the government should put the best interests of the Irish and Russian public first and “not someone else’s interest” which he said “might be the case”.

He said the two countries have a “huge amount of goodwill” and he did not see a need to ruin it.

The only thing I know for sure, from the onset of the whole incident on 4 March in Salisbury – the British government has moved away from dealing with that in a responsible manner. So, they preferred to wage a propaganda campaign, unprecedented, surely.

Filatov described the actions taken by EU member states and NATO in response to the incident as “uncalled-for, provocative and basically senseless actions”.

“Does it bring any of us closer to the point of uncovering the truth – what really happened in Salisbury – I don’t think so. We do not know much about the circumstances of the incident. Neither do, I believe, the countries that supported that kind of solidarity action on part of the EU,” he said.

Irish decisions

The government is expected to decide whether to expel Russian diplomats later today.

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Last night, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said he will take “appropriate action” to “show solidarity with our closest neighbour” in relation to the incident.

Speaking to RTÉ News, Coveney said: “I’ve made a decision in terms of what we are going to do. I want to brief my cabinet colleagues on that tomorrow.

Clearly, you can expect Ireland will take action tomorrow that is appropriate and will show solidarity with our closest neighbour in terms of what has happened.

Read: Coveney says Ireland will ‘show solidarity with closest neighbour’ over Russian diplomats expulsion

More: Russian ambassador to Ireland says expulsion of diplomats would be ‘unfriendly action’

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