MOSCOW, March 29. /TASS/. Moscow will unveil its retaliatory measures against the Western countries shortly, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday.
"You know, when they ask if there is going to be a tit-for-tat retaliation, it is not that important, let’s not focus on that. Our measures will be appropriate. They are currently under consideration and I think will be unveiled shortly," she said.
"You will know about the form and content of the measures when everything is ready," the Russian diplomat said. "I repeat, it will happen soon," Zakharova added.
Representatives of some foreign diplomatic offices admitted that they had been under an enormous pressure regarding the issue of expulsion of Russian diplomats, Zakharova said.
"At first somebody would call us and give one figure (of diplomats to be expelled) and then we would receive lists with totally different figures," Zakharova said. "At first, we would be provided with one type of reasons for the expulsions and then we would be told about the different type of reasons. Representatives of a number of foreign diplomatic offices told us about all of this openly."
On March 4, Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia.
However, without presenting any evidence, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow. In retaliation to the UK’s steps, 23 British diplomats were expelled from Russia, the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg was closed and the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russia.
On March 26, in the wake of the Skripal incident, a number of EU member countries, the United States, Canada and Australia announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats. In particular, Washington expelled 60 diplomatic workers and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle.