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New Russian ambassador to UK arrives in London

Earlier, Andrei Kelin held the post of Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Pan-European Cooperation Department

LONDON, November 21. /TASS/. Newly appointed Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin has arrived in London, where he will begin to perform his duties, TASS reports from London Heathrow Airport.

Kelin was appointed ambassador in early November. Previously, Kelin held the post of Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Pan-European Cooperation Department. In 2011-2015, he was Russia’s envoy to the OSCE.

Russia’s previous ambassador to Britain in 2011-2019, Alexander Yakovenko, is currently in charge of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy.

The new ambassador begins his duties in the period of tense relations between Russia and the UK. The relations between both states were affected by the Skripal incident. On March 4, 2018, former GRU officer 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 the so-called Novichok nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a nerve agent allegedly developed in Russia, London rushed to accuse Moscow of being involved in the incident. The Russian side flatly 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.

Later on, London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other anti-Russian measures, which forced Moscow to respond symmetrically by ousting the same number of British diplomats, closing the Consulate-General of the United Kingdom in St. Petersburg, and terminating the operations of the British Council in Russia.