MOSCOW, March 29. /TASS/. Moscow does not have any doubts the UK and the US took synchronized actions against Russia in the situation unfolding around the Skripal poisoning case, the Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
"We realize the strength of the pressure that London and Washington and we don't have any doubts now they synchronized their actions in the NATO and EU formats subjected their partners to," she said. "We do understand how inhumane that pressure was, as they exploited the principles of solidarity and implementation of a unified foreign policy course."
"London and Washington are the beneficiaries of this provocation [the poisoning of the former Russian military intelligence officer and British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia - TASS] and the expulsion of diplomats that followed it," Zakharova said.
She recalled the UK had expelled 23 diplomats and the US, 60 diplomats. Also, Washington closed one more Consulate General of the Russian Federation - at Seattle, in addition to the closure of the Consulate General in San Francisco last year.
"Did the latter step manifest a momentary impulse of solidarity? Of course it didn’t," Zakharova said.
On March 4, former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, who was earlier sentenced in Russia for spying for the UK, and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, UK. Police said they had been exposed to the impact of a nerve agent.
UK’s top officials claimed later that the nerve agent had allegedly been developed in Russia. Prime Minister Theresa May, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson and others rushed to accuse Russia of being involved, while failing to produce any evidence.
Moscow refuted the accusations of involvement in the incident and stated that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia have ever done research into that toxic chemical.
Without providing any proof, London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and suspended all planned high-level bilateral contacts. Moscow reciprocated with expelling 23 British diplomats, ordering the closure of Britain’s consulate in St. Petersburg and terminating the operations of the British Council in Russia.
On March 26, the United States declared 60 Russian diplomats personae non gratae. Among them were 46 diplomats from the embassy in Washington, two from the consulate general in New York and 12 more from Russia’s mission to the United Nations.
Germany, Canada, Poland and France followed suit by expelling four Russian diplomats each. Lithuania, Moldova and the Czech Republic expelled three diplomats, while Australia, Albania, Denmark, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands - two. Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Finland, Croatia, Sweden and Estonia each ordered the expulsion of one Russian envoy. While, Ukraine made the decision to expel 13 Russian diplomats.
NATO slashed the staff of the Russian mission to 20 from 30. Bulgaria and Luxembourg recalled their envoys for consultations.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry promised that those countries’ hostile steps would not be left unanswered.