MOSCOW, March 15. /TASS/. British diplomats do not take part in friendly dialogue at negotiations at international venues, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday, responding to a question on London turning up the heat on Russian diplomats.
"In her speech, Mrs May generally addressed Russian citizens. She said something about some sort of friendship and love for our people. We saw for ourselves yesterday what the UK means by the phrase ‘love for Russians,’" she emphasized. "We still see it in international organizations, and this ‘love’ is especially visible there, but no one can see it, because negotiations are held behind closed doors."
"Our British colleagues don’t hold back from ‘loving’ the Russian people to the fullest. But I can say that they will get a fitting reply," she stressed.
On March 14, British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of illegal use of force against her country, claiming that Moscow is behind the poisoning of a former colonel of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate, Sergey Skripal, and his daughter Yulia. In light of this, the UK leader stated that 23 Russian diplomats would be expelled and some other restrictive measures would be introduced and warned of possibly freezing assets belonging to those who may pose a danger to the UK’s security. Russian authorities have vehemently opposed these statements and vow that London’s moves won’t be left unanswered.
On March 4, ex-intelligence officer Sergey Skripal aged 66, and his daughter Yulia, aged 33, came into contact with a nerve agent and were found unconscious on a bench in The Maltings shopping center in Salisbury. Both of them have been hospitalized and are presently in critical condition. In 2004, Skripal was arrested by the Federal Security Service and later sentenced to 13 years in prison for treason, and stripped of all his titles and awards. In 2010, the former colonel was transferred to the US during an exchange of people arrested on espionage charges and moved to the UK the same year.
On March 12, UK Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of being behind this incident and the poisoning itself to have been caused by a Novichok-type military-grade nerve agent designed in the Soviet Union.