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Belarusian top diplomat says expulsions of Russian diplomats escalate regional tensions

March 29, 12:31 UTC+3 MINSK

Earlier, some European countries as well as the US, Canada and Australia, declared their decision to eject more than 100 Russian diplomats over the Skripal case

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MINSK, March 29. /TASS/. Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makey believes that the expulsions of Russian diplomats following the Salisbury incident are escalating tensions in the European region, the minister said in a conversation with TASS on Thursday.

"We negatively regard any events linked to a new surge of tensions in our region and a new stoking of tensions," he said. Minsk "does not have the whole collection of facts on the known situation in Salisbury," he said. "However, we believe that ahead of taking any actions it is necessary to look into [the situation,] involving competent experts and in accordance with operating international rules."

Makey said that "if there were Russian citizens involved in this incident, then Russia has the right to say that it also should have access to its citizens, have information and take part in the investigation." "The investigation should first of all be objective <…>, and any specific findings should be negotiated," the minister said.

On March 4, former Russian intelligence officer and convicted British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia came into contact with a nerve agent, according to British investigators. Later, London stated that this agent was designed in Russia and blamed Moscow for being behind the incident based on this assumption. The Russian side refuted its alleged involvement in the incident. London expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the country without providing any evidence, after which Moscow took retaliatory measures. Some European countries, including France, Germany, Poland, the Baltic states, Ukraine, Moldova, as well as the US, Canada and Australia, declared their decision to eject more than 100 Russian diplomats in solidarity with London’s position.

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