DUBLIN, March 23. /TASS/. The Russian Ambassador to Ireland, Yuri Filatov, has expressed regret with the fact that support for the UK over the alleged poisoning of the former Russian intelligence officer and British spy Sergei Skripal raised the upper hand in the EU.
"Unfortunately, the EU succumbed to the false sentiments of solidarity with the Britons," Filatov said. "As Brussels aligns itself with the totally unsubstantiated accusations on the Skripal case the UK government has spearheaded at Russia, it simply extends support to Prime Minister Theresa May in a knotty situation she has arranged herself."
"European politicians use a ‘highly probable’ epithet to describe Russia’s supposed guilt for the incident because they don’t have any other veritable explanations," the Ambassador said. "The EU has, in essence, chosen to join ranks with the rabid anti-Russian campaign kicked off by London."
Filatov also commented on the official statement by the Irish Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, regarding the government’s plans to consider measures against Russian diplomats.
"We haven’t heard any details from the Irish Foreign Minister so far and we keep the channels for dialogue open," he said. "We’d like to hope Dublin will act proceeding from the practical interests of the Irish and Russian peoples, which are developing versatile links, not from the principle of erroneously interpreted solidarity."
The Irish Foreign Ministry said in a press release earlier on Friday the country shared the UK and EU’s conviction that Russia was ‘highly likely’ responsible for the incident involving Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said earlier the Irish authorities would hold consultations on security matters in the coming few days before taking any measures against the Russian diplomats in the spirit of solidarity with the UK.
The former colonel of the Russian military intelligence service GRU, Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia who had come to see him from Moscow the day before, were found sitting in a comatose condition on a bench outside a shopping mall in the town of Salisbury on March 4. The police said later they had been poisoned with a nerve agent.
Sergei and Yulia were taken to hospital, with the physicians describing their health status as critical. Reports on their condition have been scanty and vague ever since then. The British authorities have turned down the Russian Embassy’s request to get access to Yulia, who is a Russian citizen.
The British government expelled 23 Russian diplomats. Moscow has expelled the symmetric number of British diplomats and ordered the closure of the UK Consulate General in St Petersburg. It has also stopped the operations of the British Council in Russia.